Only 22% of UK households have just father working ShareThis


The Modern Fatherhood project, which is ESRC funded and uses Understanding Society data, shows that the role of the breadwinner has changed significantly across Europe.

There has been a decline in male breadwinner families across Europe, according to new findings from NatCen Social Research, the Institute of Education’s Thomas Coram Research Unit and the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Two-parent families where only the father works have become a minority in many European countries and make-up only around a fifth (22%) of families in the UK.

• The biggest falls in male breadwinner families were in Spain down to 28% of families in 2011 from close to half (49%) in 2001, Greece 36% down from 46% and the Netherlands 17% down from 27%.

• Levels in Germany (25%), France (22%) and the UK (22%) were more stable but are among the lowest in Europe.

Of the eight countries looked at in the European Social Survey, UK fathers reported the highest levels of conflict between paid work and family life.

• 35% of UK fathers said they always or often worry about work problems when not working; 17% said this never happens.

• 37% of UK fathers said they are always or often too tired after work to enjoy the things they would like to do at home; 8% said this never happens.

• However, only 10% of UK fathers said that family responsibilities prevent them from giving the time they should to their job always or often; 26% said it never happens.

• Fathers in the UK and Greece were most likely to say that work interfered negatively in their family life, while fathers in the Netherlands were least likely. The research also shows that it is those fathers who worked longer hours who were most likely to report conflict between their working and homes lives.

Related links

Listen to a podcast with Eloise Poole who discusses the research project

this news has been re-posted from the Understanding Society website