7 Ways Dads Have Changed in 100 Years


Happy Father’s Day! Today we honor the men in our lives who helped shape us to be who we are.

Fathers, grandfathers and step-fathers teach us many things. Whether it’s an important life lesson, how to dance, ride a bike or being a source of wisdom, they are essential to our upbringing.

In honor of Father’s Day, our research team took a look at how the role of fatherhood has changed throughout the years and compared what life was like for fathers in the past century.

With more women working, fathers are taking more time from their working lives to enjoy their children and playing a larger part in family care. We recently wrote about how fathers are spending seven times more with their children than in the 1970s.

But how is 2015 compared to life in 1915? Here are some interesting “fatherly” facts from the past 100 years:

  • In 1915, the average life expectancy for a father was 47 years old. Today, fathers are expected to live until the age of 71.

  • Despite the origins of Father’s Day dating back to 1910, it was never recognized as an official holiday until 1972.

  • Today, 60% of households are dual-income. In 1915, most fathers were the sole breadwinner, while the mothers looked after the kids full time.

  • Between 1915-1923, the New York Times never mentioned Father’s Day. In 2015, searching for Father’s Day on Google returns 94,700,700 results.

  • More fathers today are choosing to stay at home to care for their children. In the U.S., there are over 2 million stay-at-home fathers, nearly double since 1989.

  • Over 8% of households in the U.S. are single-father homes compared to less than 1% in 1915.

  • In 2015, the average age of a first-time father is 32.6 years old.

How much do you know about the men that made you who you are today?

Do you have any memories to share with us about your father, grandfathers or other fatherly figures in your family that made an impact on your life? Let us know in the comments below!

Wishing you and your family a Happy Father’s Day!

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  • Robert Duane Knowles

    June 21, 2015

    It’s interesting that we know very little about our parents and in reality, our children know very little about us. Only too soon will we be totally forgotten, only a name on paper giving evidence that we existed at all other than the progeny we leave behind who carry some small part of our DNA.

  • yvonne Wagstaff

    June 23, 2015

    I have written 4 books about my life, accompanied by photographs, and each covering about 20 years starting with photos of my parents before I was born. I intended my grandchildren to appreciate what our lives were like from 1930 on. Published by BLURB, and entitled ‘in My View, I, II, Iii and IV.’