Mass. Called Best State for Working Fathers


EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to human error (mine), the Sunday, Father's Day, edition of Franklin Observer, though completed late Saturday night, was not properly set to publish at it's usual 7:03 am time. Therefore, it is being published on Monday.

With Father’s Day approaching and around 94.1% of married dads working compared to 72.7% of married moms, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on Best & Worst States for Working Dads in 2024, as well as expert commentary.

Surprisingly, the Bay State ranked #1 overall.

In order to help dads balance their dual roles as parent and provider, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 21 key indicators of friendliness toward working dads. The data set ranges from the average length of the work day for men to child care costs to the share of men in good or better health.

Life as a Working Dad in Massachusetts (1=Best; 25=Avg.):

• Overall Rank: 1st

• 7th – Male Life Expectancy

• 2nd – % of Kids Younger than 18 with Dad Present Living in Poverty

• 1st – Unemployment Rate for Dads with Kids Younger than 18

• 1st – Male Uninsured Rate

• 10th – Avg. Length of Work Day (in Hours) for Men

• 16th – % of Physically Active Men

[For the full report, please visit:]

“Working dads have to worry about much more than just how much income they’re bringing home to support their kids. They also have to make sure that their children’s childcare and education are adequate, their health is properly looked after, and they get enough quality time with their father. The best states for working dads provide the conditions for all these needs to be met, while also helping dads maintain their own physical and mental health.”

“Massachusetts is the best state for working dads, boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates for dads at just 2.8%, along with the second-lowest poverty rate for kids, at 5%. In addition, Massachusetts has the best parental leave policies of any state, the best school systems in the country and a high number of child care workers per capita," said Cassandra Happe, WalletHub Analyst

What are the biggest issues facing working dads today?

“Working dads want to spend more time with their families. In many workplaces, policies are lacking to allow dads to have flexible hours or remote work. At the same time, many dads have work that does not lend itself to working at home. If more workplaces had policies that allowed time off for family activities, there would be more productive workers and stronger families," said Rob Weisskirch, MSW, Ph.D. – Professor; Department Chair, Human Development, California State University Monterey Bay

“The biggest issue facing working families is affordable, high-quality childcare. This one factor affects several decisions, such as how much leave parents will take, who will take it, the length of a reasonable commute, and whether they are going to stay with or leave their employers. While historically seen as problems for mothers alone, modern families see this as a puzzle to solve as a family unit," said Sharon Belden Castonguay – Executive Director, Gordon Career Center, Wesleyan University

How can young fathers strike the right balance between career and family?

“Striking the right balance between career and family is challenging for all parents, particularly young fathers. Effective time management, which includes setting boundaries, is critical. Prioritizing tasks, establishing clear communication with both their employer and partner, and understanding the needs of their child/children helps create that balance," said Laura Bloom, Ph.D., CFLE – Associate Professor; Faculty Director, Child Study Center; Director, Certified Family Life Education Program, University of Montevallo

“Nowadays, most people have a career that zigzags – gone are the notions of working your way up in a single company by putting in the hours in the office and outside the office in work socializing. With the advent of technology, and especially during the pandemic, many people realized that work is always there. You can work at various times from your phone or at home or on the go. Family time happens on a different schedule. So, young fathers may aim for being present when kids are awake and wanting their attention, and perhaps rearranging work after the kids go to bed—rather than engaging in work around family time. Being with family means shutting off the phone, tablet, or video game console," added Rob Weisskirch, MSW, Ph.D. – Professor; Department Chair, Human Development, California State University Monterey Bay

With many fathers still working from home, what will be the impact on their role in caring for children and housework?

“Even before the pandemic, fathers in traditional households (with a husband and a wife) engaged in more hours per week of housekeeping and childcare than did those of prior generations. But for parents working from home, the challenge will be to protect the time they need to be focused on their work while also allowing for the flexibility that makes this arrangement appealing for so many working families. This requires careful calibration and open lines of communication between family members," explained Sharon Belden Castonguay – Executive Director, Gordon Career Center, Wesleyan University

“Research shows that fathers are spending more time with their families and in caregiving than before. In particular, more dads are engaging in leisure time activities with their children. This pattern means that dads are less likely to play basketball on their own but rather are bringing their kids to do things together. Despite more fathers being involved, they still do not do as much housework and caregiving as mothers do. In addition, mothers tend to carry more of the emotional labor for families than fathers do. For things to change, fathers need to take over more emotional labor and do the carpool arranging, meal planning, laundry folding, and organizing activities ceded to mothers," said Rob Weisskirch, MSW, Ph.D. – Professor; Department Chair, Human Development, California State University Monterey Bay

Content courtesy of WalletHub

Image from Hripsime Poghosyan - Own work, taken in the country of Armenia and made available under Creative Commons license

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