Report: Dads Taking On Larger Role in Child Care

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – As more women move into the workforce, dads are playing a more active role as caregivers to their children.

Today the Census Bureau released a new report exploring a simple question: Who is taking care of America’s children? As it turns out, the answer is increasingly “Dad.”

According to the report, 32% of fathers with wives in the workforce were a regular source of child care for children under age 15 as of spring 2010. Only 26% of fathers with working wives said the same in 2002.

The Census Bureau specifically points to the recession as one of the factors in this shift.

“[A recession] can trigger unemployment or changes in work hours, thus increasing the availability of fathers to provide child care,” points out Lynda Laughlin, one of the bureau’s family demographers. “It also can reduce available income to pay for child care outside of the home.”

That was particularly true for men at the height of the recession, which some media outlets dubbed the “mancession” due to the concentration of job losses in industries traditionally dominated by male employees. Still, that trend has begun to reverse itself, as men have gained back jobs at a faster pace than women since the recession officially ended in June 2009.

In any case, dads aren’t the only ones picking up child-rearing responsibilities while Mom’s at work. The survey found that 30% of preschoolers were regularly cared for by their grandparents. And 36% of the nation’s 21 million working mothers said that they paid for child care for at least one of their children.

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