The good news: this generation of fathers wants to — and often is — spending more time with their kids. Gone for millions are the days of dad being some mysterious figure that the children only see on rare mornings in the kitchen. The bad news, according to a new study, is that, as with mothers, it actually takes more money to spend more time with the kids.
And divorce can throw a huge wrench into a well-laid father-child bond — with lasting effects.
TIME magazine‘s Belinda Luscombe calls this inequality among fathers a “fathering gap.” As with the “marriage gap” — where couples with more education and wealth tend to have longer-lasting marriages, compared to those with less education and wealth — the “fathering gap” means fathers in intact families spend more time with their children and have more resources for those kids than fathers who don’t live with their children, either due to divorce or an uncommitted partnership with the mother.
What’s the big deal? Well, we know wealth and education benefits kids. And so does spending time with Dad. Since wealth and education are tied up with divorce, that means there are loads of kids who aren’t getting the benefits of any of those future-success markers.
Kids from well-off families, once again, get all the benefits being well-off entails.
TIME broke down the data from the National Survey of Family Growth, an analysis by the Pew Research Center:
[M]ore than a quarter (27%) of all fathers with children under the age of 19 now live apart from at least some of their children. Black fathers (44%) are more than twice as likely to live apart from their kids as white fathers (21%), while just over a third of Hispanic fathers maintain a separate abode. Similarly, 40% of fathers who didn’t finish high school are not residing with their children, a living situation shared by only 7% of fathers who graduated college.