New York City, NY – Times they are a-changin says the Bob Dylan song. Well no one could have expected this. With all the talk of women making less money than their male counterparts and a glass ceiling, 32% of fathers were staying home at least one day a week and taking care of the kids while their wives went out and brought home the bacon. According to the U.S. Census Bureau that number is up from 26% in 2006.
Of those with kids under the age of 5, 20% of dads in 2010 were the primary caretaker.
Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau told CNN Money,
“Not only has it become more necessary for men to pitch in at home, but fathers have also become more available to do so. It’s a combination of mothers going to work and fathers being out of work as a result of the recession,”
During the beginning of the recession men lost more than 4 million jobs while women lost more like two million. While men have mostly gained those jobs back during the recovery the official unemployment number among men is 8.3%.
It isn’t just men’s availability which is keeping them home with the children. The costs of childcare have skyrocketed over the last few years and it can make economic sense for one of the parent’s to do it themselves.
As a New York City school teacher Lance Somerfeld said he made a fraction of his wife’s salary,
“She was probably making 80% of our household income and I was 20%,” he said. Her career as a corporate actuary for an insurance company “was on a really good track and it made more sense for me to stay home.”
Somerfeld was quick to add that only part of the decision was financial though. He told CNN Money,
“Too often, we hear that it’s the economy that forces dads into these roles and that’s certainly a part of it, but I would love to shatter that stereotype. Being my son’s primary caregiver is something I have truly cherished and embraced and never looked back.”