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Australian Dads Are Staying At Home To Raise Kids More Than Ever Before, New Study Reveals

Home is where the husband is

Australian dads are staying home to raise their children more than ever before, new research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies to be released today reveals.


The study, using 2016 census data, found about 80,000 Australian families have a stay-at-home dad at the helm, rising from 68,500, or 4.2 per cent of couple families with children in 2011.

Over the same period, analysis found the number families with stay at home mums fell from 31.6 per cent to 28.7 per cent.

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Institute research fellow Dr Jennifer Baxter said the increase in the number of stay-at-home dads reflected increases in the numbers of fathers that were unemployed or not in the labour force.

Dr Baxter said workplaces could offer policies to fathers to take time out from employment or make use of flexible work arrangements. 

“Even if such policies do not result in fathers taking an extensive period of time out of employment, or if they result in fathers reducing hours rather than leaving work altogether, they send the signal that it is acceptable for fathers to modify their work arrangements to take a shared role in care-giving,” she said.

“This is likely to build support for those who do choose stay-at-home fatherhood and may encourage the uptake of flexible work options by other fathers.

“This is important given the need today for mothers as well as fathers to stay connected to employment, even across the years that child care demands are greatest.”

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Institute director Anne Hollonds said while the overall level remained low, it was around the level found in comparable countries such as the US and Canada.

Perth stay-at-home dad Zach Cole said the experience was rewarding for himself, and he believed it was beneficial for one year old daughter, Embla.

“Sometimes the perception of stay-at-home is that you stay at home, you vacuum, you do the dishes and you cook food — it’s not like that at all,” he said.

“We do a lot of activities every single day, it’s very rewarding because I think that children get something different from each of their parents and I think it’s very beneficial for our daughter to experience growing up to experience equal parts of both her mother and father.

“It’s also really valuable for my wife for her to go back to work and pursue her career.”

 This article was originally published in The West Australian.

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