While the coronavirus has disrupted family life dynamics in ways that aren’t always positive, a new Pew Research Center analysis shows that an increased share of fathers are satisfied with the amount of time they spend with their children compared to three years ago.
The data for the analysis released Monday was drawn from a survey of 10,332 randomly selected U.S. adults conducted Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, 2020. The study has a 1.6-percentage-point margin of error.
According to the data, 46% of fathers reported spending “the right amount” of time with their kids. This marks a 10-percentage-point increase from 2017.
Meanwhile, another 48% of fathers surveyed last October said they spend “too little” time with their kids. That figure is down significantly from 63% in 2017. In 2020, only 5% of dads said they spend “too much” time with their children, up from 1% in 2017.
Researchers have argued in studies how important it is for children to spend time with their fathers, noting that kids who grow up with a present, engaged dad are less likely to drop out of school or end up in jail compared to children with absent fathers or no other male role model in their lives.
Children who have close relationships with their fathers also tend to avoid high-risk behaviors, are less likely to have sex at a young age and are more likely to have high-paying jobs and healthy, stable relationships as adults, the online outlet Fatherly reports. They are also reportedly more likely to have higher IQ test scores by the age of 3 and suffer fewer psychological problems.
“When fathers are actively involved with their children, children do better,” Paul Amato, a sociologist who studies parent-child relationships at Pennsylvania State University, told Fatherly in November.
While fathers are more satisfied with the amount of time they spend with their children, women still share a majority of the household responsibilities, according to Pew.
Among married or cohabiting adults with a working spouse or partner, men are more likely than women to be very satisfied with how their significant other manages the work-life balance, 48% to 40%.
The survey also found that married or cohabiting men and women in opposite-sex relationships have differing opinions about who does more household chores across a range of activities.
A majority (59%) of women reported doing more household chores than their spouse or partner, while 6% of women responded that their spouse or partner does more chores than they do. About 34% of women responded by saying that the household chores and responsibilities are shared equally.
About 46% of men argue that the household responsibilities are shared equally, while 20% of men said they do more than their spouse. However, some 34% admitted that their spouse or partner does more of the household chores and responsibilities.
On household finances, 50% of men said they do more than their wife or partner in this area. Meanwhile, 23% of men said their spouse or partner did more when it comes to finances.
Nearly half of women (47%) reported that they handle more household finances than their spouses. Only 25% of women said their husband or partner did more in this area.