UK: Ten times more stay-at-home dads than 10 years ago

The number of UK dads* staying at home to care for young children has risen 10 times in as many years, according to new research revealed today.

  • Rise in women breadwinners sees more men take on childcare

The number of UK dads* staying at home to care for young children has risen 10 times in as many years, according to new research revealed today.

A new study from Aviva reveals that an increasing number of men are taking hold of the apron strings while their partner goes out to work, often simply because the woman earns more than her "significant other". One in six couples (16%) with dependent children say that the main wage earner is female.

Compared to only 60,000 men who took on the role of the primary parent 10 years ago**, Aviva found that now more than 600,000 UK men - or 6% of men with dependent children - regularly look after their children while their wife or girlfriend works, signifying a ten-fold increase. A further 18% of parent couples say that they share childcare equally in their household.

The research, which was carried out to support Aviva’s "Free Life Cover For New Parents" initiative, found that in 85% of households with dependent children, at least one parent had reduced their hours or given up work altogether after having children. In one in three cases this was due to the cost of childcare.

The study also revealed a number of emotive responses from role-reversing parents:

Of women who are the main breadwinner:

  • Four in 10 (37%) feel guilty going out to work and leaving their children
  • One in seven (15%) say they occasionally resent their partner because they have to go out to work
  • Although fewer than one in 10 (9%) say they’d actually want to swap places with their partner to be the stay-at-home parent.

Whereas men who are the stay-at-home parents say:

  • Three quarters (75%) feel lucky to be spending time with their children
  • Around a third (29%) find looking after children more rewarding than going out to work
  • Although one in 10 (10%) say looking after children makes them feel "less of a man"
  • And one in five (17%) wish they earned more so they could go out to work while their partner cared for the children.

Louise Colley, head of protection marketing for Aviva, says: “Since launching free life cover for new parents last summer, it’s been interesting to see that applications have been more or less equally split between mums and dads. This shows how the lines of ‘traditional’ roles and responsibilities are becoming blurred – it’s no longer necessarily men who look after the money and women who look after the children. We then thought it would be interesting to understand exactly how parenting roles are changing in order to understand the protection needs of our customers.

“While generally speaking it’s still more usual for men to take the more conventional role of the main income earner, our research shows that this is shifting and more women are becoming the breadwinners. While both roles are equally valuable, nowadays it’s quite likely that women will be heading off to the office while men are changing nappies and doing the school run!

“We’d advise anyone with dependent children to consider the importance of financial protection for their family – particularly if they are relying on one income. Aviva life cover starts from as little as £5 a month and the peace of mind it gives is priceless.”

Aviva offers £10,000 worth of free life cover to new parents, per parent, per child up to their first birthday. Parents must register within the first six months of their children’s birth. To find out more about the Aviva life cover for new parents initiative and to register, visit or call 0800 404 6434.


Aviva Press Office
Sarah Poulter
Telephone: 01904 452828 / out of hours 07800 691569

Notes to editors:

The Aviva offer provides £10,000 of life cover per parent, making up to £20,000 of cover per child (£40,000 for twins or £60,000 for triplets).

Source: Unless stated research was carried out by for Aviva was between 15 March 2010 and 22 March 2010. Sample: 1084 parents with dependent children.

* Refers to fathers with dependent children under the age of 16.
** Calculations are based on data from Office of National Statistics (ONS) Social Trends reports 2000-2009. Of 3 million economically inactive males in 2000, only 2% (60,000 people) stated they were looking after the home or family. Latest data from ONS shows that there are 10.2 million men with dependent children. Aviva data suggests that 6% of these men (612,000 people) act as primary carer for the home and children.

About Aviva

  • Aviva, the international savings, investments and insurance group, is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.
  • In the UK, Aviva is a leading provider of life, pensions, investment, general insurance and health products to more than 20 million customers.  Aviva also provides roadside assistance through RAC.  Products are distributed through a number of channels including IFAs, brokers, corporate partners and direct to customers via the internet.
  • Aviva's UK Insurance business has a market share of around 15%, making it the largest general insurer in the UK. The business is focused on insurance for individuals and small businesses.
  • Aviva's life and pensions business in the UK has a total market share of 10.6% and a top three position in its key markets of savings, protection, and annuities.
  • Aviva’s news releases and a selection of images are available from the internet press centre at

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