Using the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this brief examines changes in father-provided child care among married fathers with an employed wife. Author Kristin Smith reports that the share of married fathers providing care to their children under age 15 while their mother worked rose from 27 percent in 2005 to 31 percent in 2011. The rise in father-provided child care was driven primarily by the rise in child care provided by black and Hispanic fathers. Between 2005 and 2011, the shares of rural and urban married fathers providing child care began to diverge. In 2005, rural and urban married fathers were equally likely to provide care to their children. By 2011, the share of urban married fathers providing care had risen by 4 percentage points, while rural fathers' care provision remained the same. The results presented in this brief demonstrate that the share of married fathers who provide care to their children increased during the Great Recession. Married-couple families adapted to husbands' job loss by increasing their reliance on fathers as caregivers.

Publication Date

Winter 2-3-2015


National Issue Brief No. 79


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2015. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.