Fathers Unequal: Men as Partners and Parents in an Era of Rapid Family Change

Marcia J. Carlson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kimberly J. Turner, Cornell University

While the rising inequality in U.S. family life and its implications has received growing scholarly attention, less well understood is the fact that these family changes have had profoundly different implications for women versus men—mothers versus fathers. In the context of rising/high family instability, mothers are more likely to live with their children, while fathers are likely to live away from their children. In this paper, I present new evidence about fathers’ roles with children and rising inequality in fatherhood that has emerged over the last half century, drawing on data from the Current Population Survey (1976-2010) and the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Fathers’ diminished roles in family life—and growing inequality in such, likely has profound implications for children, mothers, fathers themselves, and society.

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Presented in Session 148: Father-Child Relationships in Diverse Settings