A new Pew Research Center analysis finds more fathers are satisfied with the amount of time they spend with their kids. The survey comes as the coronavirus lockdowns required millions more dads to spend time with kids who were schooled at home more.
The data was drawn from a survey of 10,332 randomly selected U.S. adults and was conducted Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, 2020. It also found that 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 the research, 46% of dads reported spending “the right amount” of time with their kids. This marks a 10-percentage-point increase from 2017.
The number of dads reporting they don’t get enough time with kids is also dropping. Forty-eight percent of fathers surveyed say 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.
The survey is good news for researchers concerned about parenting. Sociologists have insisted for decades that it is important for children to spend time 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.
Among married or cohabiting adults with a working spouse or partner, men are more likely than women to be very satisfied with how their partner manages the work-life balance, 48% to 40%.
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.