Thursday, June 01, 2006

Statistical Snapshots of Fatherhood

An interesting release plopped into my inbox yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging me to take a look at a 246-page, data-heavy report on fertility, contraception, and fatherhood (PDF).

The CDC is interesting because most of the data they dump is simply data, with no value judgments. So it's hard to tell if the experts think anything in the report is noteworthy. I also poke around for past data from this study, to see if I could compare some of the stats to the way things were years ago, but no dice. Those of you with more time or better research skills are welcome to go at it.

But on the whole, the report does paint a picture of what fatherhood looks like, on average in this country (all stats are for fathers living with their children):

For infants/preschoolers
* More than 95 percent eat with their kids several times a week or more
* More than 82 percent dress/diaper/bathe their kids several times a week or more. (This sounded like good news to me -- more than half reported doing it every day.)
* 97.7 percent play with their kids several times a week or more. 81.1 percent do it every day.
* 26.5 percent read to their kids about once a week. 31.0 do it several times a week. 25.3 percent do it daily. Not surprisingly, this is strongly linked to education. (This doesn't sound like good news ... nearly half of kids read with their father once or week or less?)

For older children
* 57.5 percent help with or check homework several times a week or more. (But high school grads were as good about it as the college-educated)
* 63.6 percent talk to their kids everyday about the day. 23.6 do it several times a week. (Who are those other 12.9 percent? And what are they talking about at mealtime?)
* Just over half shuttle kids to and fro several times a week or more.

On the whole, fathers are pretty happy with the job they're doing. 46.4 percent rate themselves "very good," 43.5 claim to be "good," 9.7 percent say they're "OK," and 0.4 percent graded themselves "not very good," or "bad."

For Further Reading, check out the take from Greg at DaddyTypes, who pulls some figures that I missed.


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