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July 6, 2013 / C H Thompson

Househusbands

New research from the Office of National Statistics (2012) suggests the phenomenon of the househusband has seen a rapid explosion in numbers, but experts say the trend is less about choice and nurture than an economic necessity that is not being recognised by (social) policymakers.

This ONS video highlights the 45,000 reduction of women looking after the home (1:46 mins). The data below helps provide a context in the way some commentators interpret the significance of this social trend: Guardian  Telegraph  Daily Mail

Figures for men:

  • In 2002, there were 190,000 men who were classified as ‘economically inactive, looking after the family/home’.(i) In August– October 2012 there were 220,000(ii) – an increase of 30,000 men.
  • In 2002 there were only 80,000 men not working because they were looking after children (42% of the total); the rest
    were looking after disabled relatives or similar.(i) Assuming that proportion hasn’t changed (the ONS no longer separates them out), the number of men looking after children full-time in 2012 will be 92,632 (a growth of 12,632 men in a decade.)
  • In 2002 only 39,000 of these 80,000 men were at home looking after children under school age.(i) Assuming the same proportions today, there are 45,158 men looking after children under school age in 2012.That’s 6,158 more men looking after babies and toddlers than there were in 2002.
  • For the years in between, the figures show a pretty slow but steady growth, albeit a small one in total.

Figures for women:

  • In 2002, there were 2.199 million women who were classified as ‘economically inactive, looking after the family/home’.(i) In August– October 2012 there were 2.11 million(ii) – a drop of 88,000 women.
  • In 2002 there were 1.707 million women not working because they were looking after children (78% of the total); the rest were looking after disabled relatives or similar.(i) Assuming that proportion hasn’t changed, the number of women looking after children full time in 2012 would be 1.639 million – an decrease of 68,311 women in a decade.
  • In 2002, 1.101 million of these 1.707 million women were at home looking after children under school age. (i) Assuming the same proportions today, there are 1.057 million women looking after children under school age in 2012 (a drop of 44,060 women looking after babies and toddlers since 2002.)
    (i) Office for National Statistics(2002) The economically inactive who look after the family or home
    (ii) Office for National Statistics (December 2012) Table: INAC01 Economic inactivity: reasons  (Source)

Return to gender power

Return to family overview

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