Young men increasingly seek a traditional household where the husband is the breadwinner, while the wife stays at home, according to two studies out Friday.
These findings were also seen in the studies among young Americans in general. Nika Fate-Dixon, a professor with Evergreen State College, analyzed findings from the General Social Survey that found young adults ages 18-24 in 2014 were more conservative on many issues than their counterparts from 1994. Researchers Joanna Pepin and David Cotter also found the same results in polling of high school seniors.
For example, 42 percent of high school seniors in 1994 believed that the best family arrangement was one in which the husband was the financial-earner and the wife stayed at home — this figure increased to 58 percent in 2014. When looking specifically at men ages 18-25, support for this arrangement increased from less than 20 percent in 1994 to nearly 50 percent in 2014.
It should be noted that the polling of high school seniors does show consistently increasing support for the idea that a working mother isn’t bad for the rearing of a child — it’s just that they don’t think this is the ideal dynamic.
The polling of high school seniors also found that support for husbands making all the important decisions in the family increased since 1994. A majority of high school students, 59 percent, disagreed with the idea that a husband should make all the important household decisions. This number increased to 71 percent in 1994, but was back down to 63 percent in 2014.
Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College, wrote in her analysis of the data: “The political scientist Dan Cassino suggests that the increased support for male leadership in home life among 18- to 25-year-olds may reflect an attempt to compensate for men’s loss of dominance in the work world. Youths surveyed in 2014 grew up in the shadow of the financial crisis, which accelerated the longstanding erosion of men’s earning power.”