Massachusetts, Connecticut Named Best States for Working Fathers in New Report

Jen Krausz
By Jen Krausz
June 12, 2024Job Openings
Massachusetts, Connecticut Named Best States for Working Fathers in New Report
Man works on a laptop with children playing around in a stock photo. (Sharomka/Shutterstock)

A new report from WalletHub has found that Massachusetts is the best state for working dads, with near neighbor Connecticut in second place.

The report was released just days before Father’s Day, and looks at a number of criteria that make a particular state a good one for dads trying to support their families.

The report noted that 94.1 percent of married dads in the United States work outside the home, compared to 72.7 percent of married moms.

“Working dads have to worry about much more than just how much income they’re bringing home to support their kids,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe said in an email statement shared with NTD. “They also have to make sure that their children’s child care and education are adequate, their health is properly looked after, and they get enough quality time with their father. The best states for working dads provide the conditions for all these needs to be met, while also helping dads maintain their own physical and mental health.”

Ms. Happe explained the reasoning behind the selection of Massachusetts as the best state for employed fathers, and the criteria used in the study.

“Massachusetts is the best state for working dads, boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates for dads at just 2.8 percent, along with the second-lowest poverty rate for kids, at 5 percent. In addition, Massachusetts has the best parental leave policies of any state, the best school systems in the country, and a high number of child care workers per capita,” she said.

The main criteria for the study were economic and social well-being, work-life balance, child care, and health.

Six of the top 10 states in the study’s rankings were on the East Coast, including Virginia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. The study also looked at the percentage of children living in poverty, median income, and unemployment rate.

There were no southern states in the top 30, with Florida ranked just above California at number 31.

Ranked at the bottom were Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Nevada, Mississippi, West Virginia, and New Mexico.

In general, fathers are more involved in their children’s lives than in previous generations, even if they still lag behind mothers in housework and caregiving, said Rob Weisskirch, professor at the Department of Human Development at California State University Monterey Bay.

“Research shows that fathers are spending more time with their families and in caregiving than before,” he said in an email statement shared with NTD. “In particular, more dads are engaging in leisure-time activities with their children. This pattern means that dads are less likely to play basketball on their own, but rather are bringing their kids to do things together.”

The rise of remote work has helped dads be more involved in their family’s home life, but that involvement can come at a cost when boundaries between work and home become blurred.

“For parents working from home, the challenge will be to protect the time they need to be focused on their work while also allowing for the flexibility that makes this arrangement appealing for so many working families,” said Sharon Belden Castonguay, executive director of the Gordon Career Center at Wesleyan University, in an email statement. “This requires careful calibration and open lines of communication between family members.”

A father’s working arrangements can be beneficial to family life. No matter how beneficial they are, however, Laura Bloom, an associate professor and family life educator at the University of Montevallo, cautions young dads in particular to develop good habits that will lead to a healthy family and a successful career.

“Striking the right balance between career and family is challenging for all parents, particularly young fathers,” Ms. Boom told NTD via email. “Effective time management, which includes setting boundaries, is critical. Prioritizing tasks, establishing clear communication with both their employer and partner, and understanding the needs of their child/children helps create that balance.”