Fathers and Sons
 
Estimated Number of Printed Pages: 6
 
TOPICS COVERED: A quick reminder of how far fatherhood has come in a short while. Also covers Stay at Home Dads. Are there really as many of them as being reported?
 
MEMOS ON RELATED INFORMATION: Caregivers in the Workforce, Mothers and Daughters, Children, Grandparents, Child care, Family Structure, How People Spend Their Time
 
Links to Sources for this material are available below. Please also see The Factbook Sources page for further information regarding Factbook sources and their availability.
 
 

PAGE INDEX:

 

FACTS ABOUT FATHERS AND SONS

STAY AT HOME DADS IN THE U.S.

 
 
 
 

FACTS ABOUT FATHERS AND SONS

 
 
 
 
66.3 million
Estimated number of fathers in the United States. 1.
 
 
 
26.5 million
Number of fathers in the United States, raising children in married-couple families. 2.
 
 
 
393,000
Number of single fathers in the United States in 1970. 3.
 
 
 
2.3 million
Number of single fathers in the United States in 2005. While that's almost 5.6 times the number there were 35 years ago – it's still just 18 percent of all single-parent families. 4.
 
 
 
And 84 percent –
of those – 4.6 million – who are paying child support are – you guessed it – men. They aren't paying much either: the annual median child support payment is $3,600. 5.
 
 
 
He's the breadwinner –
Of the 6 million households with married mothers who stayed home in 2003 specifically to take care of the home and kids, 5 million of them have a husband who was in the workforce for the entire preceding year. 6.
 
 
 
It may be up to Mom what kind of Dad your father is?
In a 2001 study, researchers determined that if married women had heightened involvement in caregiving – be it for children or elders – so did their husbands – and if the wives did a particular type of care, so did the husbands. The researchers concluded that, increased involvement by the men did not substitute for the women's contributions, but, instead, complemented (i.e., added to) the women's activities. Which does sort of explain the way men's involvement can increase but is still far beneath women's caregiving activities. (Now, there's no way to know if why this occurred is because the caregiving women married the kinds of men who would participate in caregiving, or if it was a product of the married relationship . . . . but for single women out there – having sisters decreased a man's contribution to caregiving, while his having brothers had no effect.) 7.
 
 
 
Uh, so how does that work, exactly?
While 96 percent of Australian fathers surveyed believe that mothers and fathers should have equal responsibility in bringing up their children, about 75 percent think that mothers are better nurturers and are better suited to raising children. And half think that preschool children need their mothers more than their fathers. 8.
 
 
 
New Man of the Year, 2001

A regional government prize awarded in Belgium, praising a husband’s performance in running the household so that his wife may advance her career.  This arose out of attempts to public relations campaigns asking, “The new man? Does he exist or not?” which focused on the relationship of the man to his spouse, as supposed to the 1980s-1990s campaigns for “the new father” and “new fatherhood.” 9.
 
 
Despite the social campaigns arguing otherwise, Belgian fathers still see their role in the family as the breadwinner – even though less than 25 percent of couples in Belgium actually follow that traditional model. 10.
 
And while Belgian fathers are becoming more emotionally involved and expressive with their children, only a minority are actually take an equal or more share in actually raising the child. 11.

 
 
"Compared with men, women are more encouraged to express their emotions in the Chinese culture. Such a practice can be seen in the popular Chinese saying 'nan er liu xie bu liu lei' (a man should drop blood but not tears). Thus, cultural conditions could explain why Chinese adolescents perceive their mothers as more concerned and responsive than their fathers. The relatively higher level of perceived paternal harshness might be explained by the fact that fathers are usually regarded as the 'legitimate' agents in administering punishment and are likely to use more force in executing punishment." 12.
 
 
 
"Finally, Chinese mothers are charged with the basic socialization and caregiving tasks, reflected in the popular Chinese saying 'nan zhu wai, nu zhu nei' (men take care of things outside the family, whereas women take care of things inside the family). The mother's role might explain why they were perceived to be more demanding (in terms of monitoring) than Chinese fathers." 13.
 
 
 
"What conclusions can be drawn from the present findings with respect to the traditional portrait of 'strict father, kind mother' in the Chinese culture? If strictness is defined in terms of harshness, the present findings appear to provide some support for the notion of 'strict father, kind mother.' However, if strictness is defined in terms of demandingness, the data obtained do not show that Chinese fathers are more demanding than Chinese mothers. Therefore, the present findings suggest that there is a need to redefine the notion of 'strict father' in the Chinese culture, by broadening it to include both harshness and demandingness." 14.
 
 
 
85 percent
Of children in Cuba being raised by single mothers, 85 percent of the children's fathers were either completely or partially estranged from the mother and child, according to a 1980s study. 15.
 
 
 
56 percent
In that same study, 56 percent of the Cuban single mothers did not know where the father of their children lived. 66 percent could not identify where the father worked. 16.
 
 
 
Looking forward to when the kid's 18? Try "never" –
In Iran, fathers are expected to support their children until the end of their lives. Financially, he may at some point stop being the provider, but emotionally, he never does. 17.
 
 
 
Just for sons –
Hindu and Confucian traditions, predominant in Asia, hold that "only sons can pray for and release the souls of dead parents, and only males can perform birth, death, and marriage rituals." 18.
 
 
 
Eldest son –
Traditionally, the ideal South Korean family would have its eldest son raise his own family in his parents' household, so that he could also care for his parents as they aged. The other two or three sons would move out and raise families on their own. 19.
 
 
 
Strong –
the "son preference" in India. 20.
 
 
 
Il mammismo
Translated into English as "mamma's boy syndrome," it's an Italian expression for a son’s overly strong ties with his mother. 21.
 
 
 
"I hope it's a boy" –
Smaller families in Asia have meant a strong resurgence of the traditional preference for sons.

In 1965, just six percent of Taiwan's potential mothers hoped their first child was a boy.
 
In 1991, 52 percent of Taiwan's potential mothers hoped their first child was a boy. 22.
 
 

In Kenya, it's the last-born son
who is usually the caretaker for the elderly / widowed mother of father. 23.
 
 
 

FACTS ABOUT FATHERS AND SONS

 
 
 

STAY AT HOME DADS IN THE U.S.

 
 
There are many news reports and books floating out there that census has 2 to 2.5 million men are stay-at-home dads – the primary caregivers when mom was at work -- but do not be fooled. Yes, they're responsible for the kids, but that isn't the only thing they're doing – 1.4 million of those men had jobs of their own. The argument some advocates are making is that these men should be included; however, if that were the case, then similarly employed mothers should also be included – and then the numbers of stay-at-home mothers would really seem small by comparison. 24.
 
 
 
It might be the economy, not the cherubic smiles of their kids, that really sends fathers home . . . .
 

105,000
Estimated number of stay at home dads in the U.S. in 2002. They took care of 189,000 children – just 0.5 percent of the children under 15 living with two married parents. 25.
 
 
 
98,000
Estimated number of stay at home dads in the U.S. in 2003. 26.
 
 
 
147,000
Estimated number of stay at home dads in the U.S. in 2004. That's the not just a leap of 50 thousand in a year – that's also the highest number in a decade – more than double what it had been in 1995 (64,000). (But it's still a comparatively insignificant number compared to the almost 5.6 million stay-at-home moms. . . .) 27.
 
 
 
56 times more likely
For a child in the U.S. in 2002 with a stay at home parent, it was 56 times more likely that the parent staying at home was his mother, than it was his father. 28.
 
 
 
160,000
In 2003, out of the 1 million married men in couples-households who were not in the labor force for the entire preceding year, just 160,000 said that the primary reason that they weren't working was to take care of their home and family. 29.
 
 
 
That's 18 percent

That is just a small fraction compared to 88 percent of the married women who stayed home to take care of the family. But for a real comparison consider that –
 
45 percent of these men – 2.5 times that amount – were staying home not because of the kids, but because they were ill or disabled.
 
A higher amount – 19.6 percent – were staying home and out of the labor force because they were either retired or going to school.
 
And 11 percent said they weren't working because they couldn't find a job. 30.

 
 
Why Stay At Home Dads chose that route:
 
One scholar reported studies indicated two reasons why stay-at-home dads became the major caregiver:

(1) the parents' perceptions of the fathering they had experienced as children and
 
(2) financial-employment factors, especially problems in the fathers obtaining jobs and the mothers working or having career aspirations. 31.

 
 
It's exactly what you predicted . . . or completely the opposite –
Studies show that stay-at-home fathers became more involved with their children when their own fathers were not involved in their upbringing. 32.
 
 
 
The real struggle isn't with the laundry – it's with identity . . . .
 

Stay-at-home fathers must deal with challenges to gender identity. Since the usual construct in American society is that the male is the family breadwinner, stay-at-home dads have reported that they are seen less than masculine as their working-father peers. And that judgment isn't made just by men, but women – even the stay-at-home fathers themselves. 33.
 
 
 
Stay-at-home fathers have also reported that they're viewed suspiciously, since they aren’t supposed to be nurturing; the perception is that they don’t (and maybe shouldn’t) cuddle, kiss, be affectionate. Some even report that they've dealt with suspicions that they were considered to possibly be homosexual, because they'd decided to be the nurturer of the family. 34.
 
 
 
They also may confront social isolation. They obviously don't have work colleagues any longer, but they don't relate to the stay at home moms, either. 35.
 
 
 
There’s also issues as to if dad’s contribution is “fair” – what sort of gratitude is there? Should there be? They may be overly idealized as “wonderful” for being a stay-at-home dad, when no such credit would be given to the mom had she done it. 36.
 
 
 
It can be crushing to his self-esteem (hers, too): they may try to continue to foster an illusion that mom is really still the primary parent and that working is just because she has to (but it’s a family myth; mom frequently likes the job and wants to keep working). 37.

_______________________________________________________________________________
 
 
1. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html
2. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html
3. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html
4. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html
5. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html
6. Jason Fields, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003, Current Population Reports, P20-553. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2004), pp. 11-12. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-553.pdf
7. Naomi Gerstel and Sally K. Gallagher, "Men's Caregiving: Gender and the Contingent Character of Care," Gender and Society, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 197-217 (April 2001), pp. 211-214. Archived at: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0891-2432%28200104%2915%3A2%3C197%3AMCGATC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0
8. According to a national survey. David De Vaus, "Australian Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 67-98 (2005), p. 73 (citation omitted). Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
9. Wilfried Dumon, "Belguim's Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 215-234 (2005), p. 221. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
10. Wilfried Dumon, "Belguim's Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 215-234 (2005), p. 221. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
11. Wilfried Dumon, "Belguim's Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 215-234 (2005), p. 221. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
12. Daniel T. Shek, "Adolescents' Perceptions of Paternal and Maternal Parenting Styles in a Chinese Context," The Journal of Psychology (September 1, 1998)(citation omitted). Archived at: http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?docid=1G1:21083549
13. Daniel T. Shek, "Adolescents' Perceptions of Paternal and Maternal Parenting Styles in a Chinese Context," The Journal of Psychology (September 1, 1998). Archived at: http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?docid=1G1:21083549
14. Daniel T. Shek, "Adolescents' Perceptions of Paternal and Maternal Parenting Styles in a Chinese Context," The Journal of Psychology (September 1, 1998). Archived at: http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?docid=1G1:21083549
15. Anne R. Roschelle, Maura I. Toro-Morn, Elisa Facio, "Families in Cuba: From Colonialism to Revolution," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 414-439 (2005), p. 426 (citation omitted). Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
16. Anne R. Roschelle, Maura I. Toro-Morn, Elisa Facio, "Families in Cuba: From Colonialism to Revolution," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 414-439 (2005), p. 426 (citation omitted). Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
17. Taghi Azadarmaki, "Families in Iran: The Contemporary Situation," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 486-506 (2005), p. 475. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
18. Judith Geller, "Opportunities for Women Through Reproductive Choice," Population Reports (July 1, 1994). Archived at: http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?docid=1G1:15831836
19. Kwang-Kyu Lee, "South Korean Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 167-176 (2005), p. 170. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
20. J.P. Singh, "The Contemporary Indian Family," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 129-166 (2005), p. 147. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
21. Carla Power, "Staying Home With Mamma," Newsweek International (August 14, 2000). Archived at: http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?docid=1G1:64076546
22. Tai Yu-Hua Chen and Chin-Chin Yi, "Taiwan's Families," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 177-198 (2005), p. 182. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
23. Edward K. Mburugu and Bert N. Adams, "Families in Kenya," Handbook of World Families, Bert N. Adams and Jan Trost (eds). Sage Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 3-24 (2005), p. 20. Available through: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0761927638/qid=1123855404/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-0887680-4192712?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
24. _____, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html
25. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day, June 15," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 2, 2003). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-ff08.html and Jason Fields, Children and their Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, Current Population Reports P20-547, US Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2003), pp. 9-11. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-547.pdf
26. Stay at home married parents are defined by the U.S. Census those who reported that they are home primarily to care for the home and children for the preceding year, and have a married spouse who is in the workforce that year as well. ________, "Facts for Features: Father's Day 2005: June 19," Press Release, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (June 10, 2005). Archived at: http://www.census.gov./Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/004706.html
27. Table 59, "Parents and Children in Stay-At-Home Parent Family Groups:1995 to 2004,"________, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2006 (125th Edition), U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2005)(p. 53) citing U.S. Census Bureau, ‘‘Families and Living Arrangements’’; published 29 June 2005; <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html>. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/statistical-abstract.html
28. Jason Fields, Children and their Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, Current Population Reports P20-547, US Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2003), p. 10. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-547.pdf
29. Jason Fields, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003, Current Population Reports, P20-553. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2004), pp. 11-12. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-553.pdf
30. Jason Fields, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003, Current Population Reports, P20-553. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC (2004), pp. 11-12. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-553.pdf
31. ________, Abstract of N. Radin's "Primary-Caregiving Fathers in Intact Families," A. E. Gottfried & A. W. Gottfried (Eds.), Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development (pp. 11-54). New York: Plenum Press (1994). Accessed at: http://fatherfamilylink.gse.upenn.edu/fatherlit/action.lasso?-database=full.fmp&-response=fullfmt.htm&-layout=database&-sortField=pub%20year&-sortOrder=descending&-op=bw&authors=radin&-op=bw&File%20Type=*&-op=bw&Pub%20Year=*&-op=bw&CrossRef=*&-maxRecords=1&-skipRecords=5&-search on September 18, 2005.
32. ________, Abstract of N. Radin's "Primary-Caregiving Fathers in Intact Families," A. E. Gottfried & A. W. Gottfried (Eds.), Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development (pp. 11-54). New York: Plenum Press (1994). Accessed at: http://fatherfamilylink.gse.upenn.edu/fatherlit/action.lasso?-database=full.fmp&-response=fullfmt.htm&-layout=database&-sortField=pub%20year&-sortOrder=descending&-op=bw&authors=radin&-op=bw&File%20Type=*&-op=bw&Pub%20Year=*&-op=bw&CrossRef=*&-maxRecords=1&-skipRecords=5&-search on September 18, 2005.
33. See Francine M. Deutsch, "Traditional Ideologies, Nontraditional lives," Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (March 1998). Archived at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_n5-6_v38/ai_20749193/print
34. See Francine M. Deutsch, "Traditional Ideologies, Nontraditional lives," Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (March 1998). Archived at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_n5-6_v38/ai_20749193/print
35. See Francine M. Deutsch, "Traditional Ideologies, Nontraditional lives," Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (March 1998). Archived at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_n5-6_v38/ai_20749193/print
36. See Francine M. Deutsch, "Traditional Ideologies, Nontraditional lives," Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (March 1998). Archived at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_n5-6_v38/ai_20749193/print
37. See Francine M. Deutsch, "Traditional Ideologies, Nontraditional lives," Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (March 1998). Archived at: http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_n5-6_v38/ai_20749193/print