‘Daddy time’ is not as limited as it used to be

January 9, 2018

Today, U.S. fathers are giving their children nearly three times more attention than they did a half-century ago: seven hours a week now, compared to 2.5 hours a week in 1965. However, most (63%) of dads still say they are spending too little time with the kids, based on results of a Pew Research survey released on January 8.

A much smaller share (36%) say they spend the right amount of time with their progeny, the survey of 4,573 American adults nationwide determined.

Moms, by comparison, still do “the heavy lifting” when it comes to childcare and are more likely than dads to say they are satisfied with the amount of time they spend with their kids. About half (53%) say this, while only 35% say they spend too little time with their kids, according to the research results.

Fathers without a bachelor’s degree are particularly likely to say they spend too little time with their kids. About 70% of dads with some college or less education say this is the case, compared with half of dads with at least a bachelor’s degree–perhaps because those with a degree are spending more time at work.

Education is not a factor when it comes to the share of mothers who say they spend too little time with their children, but employment status is: 43% of full-time working moms say they don’t spend enough time with their kids, compared with 28% of moms who work part-time or who are not employed.

For both dads and moms who say they spend too little time with their kids, work obligations are cited most often as the main reason: 62% of dads and 54% of moms indicate that this is the case.

A major exception? A sizable share of fathers (20%) say that the main reason they spend too little time with their children is that they don’t live with them full-time.

These findings come as about one-in-four fathers of children 17 or younger (24%) are living apart from at least one of their children, and 17% are living apart from all of them, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the National Survey of Family Growth.

Interestingly enough, about  half of black fathers (47%) are living apart from at least one of their children age 17 or younger, and 36% are living apart from all of their children. Far lower shares of Hispanic (26%) and white (17%) fathers are living apart from one or more of their children.

Research contact: info@pewresearch.org

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