How Stay-At-Home Parenting Has Evolved

Dads are increasingly choosing to stay home to raise kids.
By: | October 1, 2018 • 3 min read
Toddler daughter sits on dadÕs knee playing ukulele at home

Stay-at-home parenting may not have undergone as much of an evolution in the past few decades as most people believe, according to new research.

Pew Research Center recently released a report, based on an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, that found the percentage of stay-at-home parents is nearly the same—and actually slightly higher—compared to 30 years ago. As of 2016, about 18 percent (11 million) of U.S. parents were not working outside the home, compared to 17 percent in 1989.  That figure has ebbed and flowed over the years, reaching a peak of 20 percent in 2010, which the report notes was likely connected to parents who were forced to stay home after job losses in the wake of the Great Recession.


Economic factors, however, were not deemed to be at play in the rise of stay-at-home dads. The percentage of moms at home dropped slightly during from 1989 to 2016, from 28 percent to 27 percent, but the share of stay-at-home fathers rose from 4 percent to 7 percent during that same timeframe.

“The modest increase is apparent even after excluding those who were home due to unemployment,” the authors wrote. “Furthermore, a growing share of stay-at-home fathers say they are home specifically to care for their home or family, suggesting that changing gender roles may be at play.”