The Changing Demography of U.S. Fatherhood

Marcia J. Carlson , University of Wisconsin-Madison
Paula Fomby, University of Michigan
Ariane Ophir, University of Wisconsin-Madison

While a large literature has considered the nature of family change and its implications for children, less well understood is how changing family demography affects adults/parents and especially men. In this paper, we use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to provide new information about men’s fatherhood experiences for cohorts of U.S. men born 1955-1989. We describe the prevalence of men becoming biological fathers over the life course and evaluate the proportions of men who are living with biological children, living apart from at least one biological child, and/or living with unrelated children (as ‘social fathers’). Finally, we aggregate fatherhood experiences across cohorts for men at the same age range to consider the level and change in fatherhood roles broadly defined. Overall, this paper provides new information about the changing demography of U.S. fatherhood in recent decades, illuminating how men today participate in rearing the next generation.

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 Presented in Session 181. Fathers and Families