More and more fathers whose wives are employed are regularly caring for their children, according to recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In families where the mother is employed, one-fifth of fathers of preschoolers were the children’s primary caregiver. Overall, in 2010, 32% of fathers with working wives regularly cared for their children under age 15, up from 26% in 2002.
“A recession may force families to adjust their child care arrangements,” Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau, said in a news release. “It can trigger unemployment or changes in work hours, thus increasing the availability of fathers to provide child care. It also can reduce available income to pay for child care outside of the home.”
The news release lists other highlights from the report — “Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2010.” These include:
- In households with working moms, family members continue to serve as an important source of child care for preschoolers. In spring of 2010, 30% of preschoolers were regularly cared for by their grandparents, 29% were cared for by their fathers, and 12% received care from a sibling or other relative.
- Families with an employed mother and children younger than 15 paid an average of $138 per week for child care in 2010, up from $81 in 1985 (in constant 2010 dollars), the first year that these data were collected.
- Families in poverty who paid for care in 2010 spent a greater proportion of their monthly income on child care than did families at or above the poverty line (40% compared with 7%).