Cuddly educated dads

First government study of dads finds that those with college degrees spend more time with their kids.

By Sarah Elizabeth Richards

Published June 1, 2006 7:07PM (EDT)

Will the debunking ever stop this week? Here's another gender stereotype that's getting shattered. Apparently, highly educated men are not all slaving away at the office and missing out on their kids' formative years. In fact, a government study found that dads with college degrees were more likely to bathe and play with their children than fathers who didn't graduate from high school, according to the Associated Press.

The report, released yesterday by the National Center on Health Statistics and focused on men ages 15 to 44, is the government's first effort to look at fathers and parenting -- which is encouraging news in itself. Anyway, it found that although more educated men had fewer children -- two compared with the nearly three of their less-educated counterparts -- they were more involved dads.

The study is filled with more stats that look at education: For example, nearly half of men 22 to 44 who didnt graduate from high school weren't married when they had a child. That's compared with just 6 percent of men with college degrees. And there are lots of facts and figures that compare racial minorities; the gist is that black and Hispanic fathers tend to have children younger and more frequently outside of marriage than white men.

Whatever the breakdowns, though, the study found that nearly all fathers loved their parental status. A whopping 98 percent -- and 97 percent of mothers -- agreed with the statement: "The rewards of being a parent are worth it despite the cost and work it takes."

And the study found that 74 percent of fathers who live with their young children -- and 9 percent who don't -- feed them or eat with them every day.

Way to go, dads!

Sarah Elizabeth Richards

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist based in New York. She can be reached at

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