Topic: Census Figures
The media came a calling today wanting to know why there are only 98,000 at-home dads left in America. The census released a new report this afternoon which included a 98,000 number that was actually released two months ago from 2003 numbers. The number was down from last years 105,000 stat from their June 2003 report (these numbers are from actual March 2002 data, Are you still following me here daddy?). I'm sure you are a little confused and I'm sure part of it stems from me using too many run-on sentences in my rush to throw this out. In any case most reporters (with the exception of those of the caliber of Marilyn Gardner at the Christian Science Monitor) who report on these press releases stop reading them at the 98,000 number and the inevitable headline "MR. MOM GOES BACK TO WORK!" may be shouted to us in tomorrow's USA Today. I tried to explain that a difference of 8,000 dads is statistically meaningless, the 98,000 number even more so because it excludes dads at-home full or part time (1.4 million), dads with wives who didn't work the entire 52 weeks (besides sick days, ect), and single fathers to name a few. Of course those in the know realize this is old news.
The new news is that In today's report the census has come up with 5 brand new reasons why you may not be an at-home dad. Please deduct the following dads.
- ill or Disabled (455,000 dads)
- Retired (108,000 dads)
- Going to School (90,000 dads)
- Could not find work (111,000 dads)
- Other (157,000 dads) (What are these other dads doing? I'd like to see another break down on this..)
Include these dads in and you have 1 million dads easy... and we haven't even touched the dads who work at-home.
In the last ten years, I have talked to just about every type of dad that has been excluded by the census who consider themselves an at-home dad. They don't seem to love and care for their kids any less then the dad who says on a census form that they "wanted to be home to care for home and family". As the census explains in today's report "Estimates of the numbers of stay at-home fathers caring for children under 15 are based not on the parents activities as childcare providers but rather on the primary reason they were not in the labor force for the previous 52 weeks." So the number starts at about 2 million working and non-working at-home dads, then when all the criteria is met we end up with the 98,000 figure. With the same formula the number of at-home moms are estimated to be 5.4 million. Go figure.
Update: USA Today was the first out of the gate this morning with the headline: Census: 5.4 million mothers are choosing to stay at home with a short tidbit on the US Census report. Reporter Sharon Jayson did manage to get one quote for the dads from David Molina, an at-home dad to twins near Phoenix, who tried working but stayed home "It was not worth it," he said. "It was a rat race. It got to the point where both of us were having to stay later at work than we could and we would call each other at 4:45 and say for the other to pick up the kids."
Update #2: Peter Grier and Sara B. Miller of the Christion Science Monitor chime in on the Incredible shrinking US family and the 98K number "The Census Bureau judges that there are only 98,000 true stay-at-home dads in the whole country, despite the number of cinematic depictions of fathers who lose their jobs and find happiness ferrying kids to school and constructing art out of toilet-paper rolls" ....
Note: Right in middle of the same article while discussing households the Monitor had a blog moment by writing "Sponges living by themselves in a pineapple were statistically insignificant and thus were not included in the Census figures. That would be "SpongeBob SquarePants," a Nickelodeon production"