It seems that society always has something to say about the way millennials live their lives. A lot of the time it's because millennials are choosing to live their lives differently than previous generations. A lot of the time it's not a conscious choice, but one that is made based on circumstances they can't control. A new Pew study has shown that more millennial parents, both moms and dads, are staying home to raise their kids than previous generations. The overall number of stay at home parents hasn't changed in almost 30 years, but due to things like finances and job availability, the number of millennial parents staying home is on the rise.
As of right now, 18 percent of parents are staying home, which equals about 11 million people. Interestingly, the amount of dad who have taken the role as the stay at home parent has risen from four percent in 1989 to seven percent now in 2018. In spite of this, and given the amount of moms that do go back to work after having kids, the amount of moms staying home hasn't really changed much in 30 years. While it did drop one percent (28 percent in 1989 versus 27 percent in 2016) that isn't enough to really call the change significant.
The biggest thing this study found is that the shift isn't really gender related, it is more generational. Millennials are staying home in higher numbers than the previous generation. Between 2015 and 2016, 21 percent of millennial parents were staying at home, a four percent increase over the 17 percent of Gen X parents. While more millennial moms stayed home than their Gen X counterparts, the differences were much more obvious between the amount of dads staying home. Six percent of millennial dads stayed home with their kids in 2016, which is practically double the amount of Gen X dads that stayed home.
So, what is the explanation for these numbers? It's mostly financial. When the recession hit in 2008, many millennials found themselves with few job prospects. In the time immediately after the recession hit, the amount of stay at home parents was about 20 percent, a five percent jump from the 15 percent just eight years earlier in 2000.
And even though a third of the millennial dads who stay at home say they do so because they're out of work, some simply stay home to care for their kids and keep up the home. This is a reflection of the changes in gender expectations that millennials are embracing. It's a slow change, because even though those 25 percent of dads are staying home, 78 percent of moms stay home for the same reason. It will be interesting to see how the trend continues to shift.