More fathers are staying home to take care of their children than ever before, according to the Pew Research Center. Some 2 million dads are at home full-time (though not all of them are their children’s primary caregivers). In 1989, only 1.1 million fathers were stay-at-home dads. Economic reasons may be part of the trend, since 47 percent of them live under the poverty line, and daycare can be expensive.
They tend to have less education: Fourteen percent don’t have a high school diploma, compared to 3 percent with at least a bachelor’s degree. And they may be at home due to disability—the Pew report notes that 35 percent are ill or disabled, although that figure is down from 1989, when 56 percent of stay-at home fathers were ill or disabled.
But many fathers stay home not because they have to, but because they want to. Researchers at Pew found that 12 percent of dads today freely choose to stay at home to care for their families, up from 5 percent in 1989.