How Is Dad Doing? New Research on Fathers

(From Healthy Families:)

More involved than ever before, yet also more absent.  That’s the contradictory nature of fathering today, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, a US-based social thinktank. 

In the report, A Tale of Two Fathers, Pew analysts look at data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and detail some interesting and provocative insights about father involvement and changes in family structures. The key finding? Although more fathers are living apart from their kids than ever before, those who live with their children are spending more time involved with child care than in the past.

The number of fathers living apart from their minor children rose from 11% in 1960 to 27% in 2010. Yet among fathers who live with their children, the time spent caring for those children has more than doubled over the past several decades, from 2.6 hours per week in 1965 to 6.5 hours in 2000.

The study also looked at current attitudes to fathers, and perceptions of the importance of fathering. Seven in ten respondents (69%) agree that a child needs a father in the home to grow up happily. The share agreeing that a child needs a mother in the home was only slightly higher — 74%.

So what did Dads think about their own fathering?  Overall, Dads feel good about their performance: 47% say they’re doing a better job than their own dad did.  Yet feeling like a good father is closely tied to residency.  Read more: