Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kiwis, Dads and Staying at Home

Giving my longstanding frustrations with the Census Bureau's inability to sensibly quantify the manner and extent of involved fatherhood in this country, it's not surprising that looking abroad gives a more nuanced view of what's going on.

If you're looking for beach reading, you could do worse than print out this report out of New Zealand on "Men's Participation in Unpaid Care." In addition to giving the state of things in New Zealand, is a great review of the literature and where other countries come down in various areas. It also nicely summarizes the reasons why dads tend *not* to end as the primary caretakers.

But if you want to get right to the heart of it, there is a tally of the number of at-home dads (men not in labour force, looking after children). Those numbers have shot up from 6,100 in the mid-80s to more than 14,000 today. (The peak appears to have come earlier in this decade.) The "playground ratio" of at-home moms to at-home dads is about 10:1.

Though not huge numbers, that ain't bad in a country of 4 million (and, again, underscores that the U.S. Census count misses a lot of at-home dads in this country).


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