Friday, June 16, 2006

Here we go again

The Census Bureau has (once again) made available that at-home dad stats, though (once again) in an impossible-to-understand CSV format. I've now hammered the figures into shape, and I'll posted an Excel file in the next week for the truly curious.

The upshot: in pure numerical terms, our numbers are down 4,000 to 143,000. But this is such a small blip that it can't be distinguished from last year's numbers. What it shows, I believe, is that the number of dads is up substantially from our fin-de-siecle numbers (see the table below).

All of my previous criticisms apply: these numbers count almost no dads. In a freelance economy, in which just huge numbers of people make *some* money in a given 52-week period, counting only 1) fathers out of the workforce for 52 straight weeks who 2) have a spouse who worked 52 straight weeks and 3) told the demographers that they were at home for family reasons is likely to be a huge undercount. Heck, just take the number of SAHDs whose wife was "out of the labor force" for at least a week last year. That alone would boost numbers by 70,000 (10,000 more than last year).

And though you can't take any of this to the bank with such small numbers, it looks like young-ish dads (30-34) are the most likely to be Census SAHDs, followed by 35-39 year-olds and then 40-44 year olds. This appears to be a change from last year, when the numbers tilted a little older.

2005: 143,000
2004: 147,000
2003: 98,000
2002: 106,000
2001: 81,000
2000: 93,000
1999: 71,000
1998: 90,000

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