Men's Flight From Children in the U.S.: A Historical Perspective.

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Author (Individual)
Hogan, D. P.
Goldscheider, F.
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The increase in the proportion of children living in female-headed families implies that men's likelihood of living with their children has declined. However, this may understate men's coresidence with children as many female family heads live with other men, either with their fathers or in cohabitating relationships. Many of the absent fathers of children in female headed families live with children other than their own, such as their younger siblings or stepchildren. This paper examines patterns of coresidence with children under age 15 during the period 1880 to 1990 in the United States, using the Integrated Public Use Samples (IPUMS) of the U.S. Census. The analysis distinguishes between "own children" and "other children", and compares men and women. The study also assesses the extent to which coresidence with children is a function of age, marital status, education, and farm residence. The findings suggest that recent declines in male coresidential parenthood are simply extensions of the trend from 1880 onwards, rather than any new crisis in family life. The long-term historical decline in parenting is quite similar for both men and women, with only a slight divergence towards fewer men engaged in coresidential parenting of an own child. Coresidential parenting of children other than own children is somewhat higher among males, although differences were larger prior to 1950. The study also found that the historical declines in fatherhood were associated with increasing non-farm residence and proportions of people unmarried. The overall conclusion of the investigation is that fatherhood continues to be a primary role of American men. (Author abstract modified) 18 references, 3 figures, and 2 tables.

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