University of Cincinnati
Navigation bar
UC Study Finds Younger Fathers More Likely to Put Family First
Date: June 15, 2000
By: Chris Curran
Phone: (513) 556-1806
Archive: Research News

Cincinnati -- Younger men are more family-oriented than older men, but workplaces are changing more slowly. These are the findings of an ongoing survey of Ohioans at the University of Cincinnati Kunz Center for the Study of Work & Family.

Each winter, working parents in Ohio are randomly selected to respond to the Kunz Center's "Survey of Ohio's Working Families." Looking at results from 1999 and 2000, men were divided into three age categories:

  • Young (ages 24-34)
  • Mid-career (ages 35-44)
  • Late-career (ages 45-75)
  • "There is some evidence that younger men are more supportive of women in the labor market than are older men," said David J. Maume Jr., UC sociologist, Kunz Center director and author of the Ohio study.

    For example, among younger men, more than half (57 percent) agreed that "women should have the same job opportunities as a man," compared with 44 percent of mid-career men, and 37 percent of late-career men.

    Moreover, one-fourth of younger men agreed "that husbands should be willing to move to another city if it will help his wife's career." In contrast, only 13 percent of mid-career men and 16 percent of older men agreed with that statement.

    Among men in this sample, behavior is also consistent with their attitudes. When asked how often they brought work home, more than half of younger men (52 percent) said "never," compared with 47 percent of mid-career men and 40 percent of late-career men.

    "Younger men were more likely to grow up in dual-earner households. As parents, they are more likely to leave work behind at the office, and support their wives' desire to pursue careers," said Maume.

    While men may be changing, bosses place equal demands on younger and older men alike. For example, regardless of age, nearly half of all men agreed that "their careers would suffer if they [took] time away from work to spend more time with their families." Similarly about one-third of all men "frequently worked on weekends."

    "This is a classic case of people changing faster than society's institutions. It will be interesting to see whether firms become more 'family-friendly' to accommodate men, or whether firms require men to adjust to organizational demands," Maume said.

    There is also some evidence that the change in men's commitment to family is still incomplete. When asked how much they contribute to routine household chores (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, washing dishes and laundry), younger and older men alike did about 25-30 percent of these chores. That figure has not changed since the Ohio study began in 1998, noted Maume.

    More than 1,000 Ohio residents responded to a survey the Kunz Center mailed to randomly selected parents in 1999 and 2000. Half the respondents were men. The margin of error is plus or minus 7 percent.