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Stay-at-home dads

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Baxter, Jennifer
Publication Date: 
30 Apr 2017


It’s generally perceived that “stay-at-home dads” are becoming more common, as modern families strive to  juggle their work and care responsibilities. This Families Week fact sheet takes a close look at the data, to see if that perception matches reality.

We have confined our analysis to two-parent, opposite-sex families; this allows us to compare and contrast stay-athome-father families with stay-at-home-mother families. And because we are focussing on that comparison, other family forms, such as single-parent and same-sex-parented families, are not covered in this fact sheet.

Key messages

  • Stay-at-home fathering is not a common approach in Australia.
  • Stay-at-home-father families are very diverse. They include fathers who are looking for work and those who are not, and mothers who are working part-time and mothers who are working full-time.
  • Stay-at-home-father families tend not have a lot in common with stay-at-home-mother families. Children tend to be older, and mothers still take on much of the caring and household work, even if fathers have increased responsibility for child care.
  • While stay-at-home-father families are (not surprisingly) supportive of fathers caring and mothers earning, there is considerable support for this arrangement across the parenting spectrum.