Is Fatherhood a Full-Time Job? - Qualitative Insights into Measuring Stay-at-Home Fatherhood

Beth A. Latshaw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Little is known about men who serve as primary caregivers for their families due to a lack of nuanced questions on fatherhood and the small numbers found in large-scale, nationally representative surveys. I move beyond this limitation by using a combination of in-depth interviews with 40 fathers and Census microdata from the American Community Survey to critically assess whether surveys accurately count the number of male primary caregivers in the United States today. Findings suggest that the Census likely underestimates the number of men who father full-time (by as many as 1.4 million), as over 60 percent of men in my sample who self-identify as a “stay-at-home father” would be eliminated from the count because of part-time employment, their reason for not working, or their duration of time at home. These qualitative results have important implications for how researchers can more precisely model and measure fluid, emergent family forms.

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Presented in Poster Session 3