Statistics on Stay-at-home Husbands

In addition to producing a widely-used definition of a stay-at-home dad and releasing statistics on the number of stay-at-home dads, the U.S. Census Bureau also provides data regarding the employment status of married men.

The Census estimates the number of husbands in the country, whether they work, and whether their wife works. From this information we can find general statistics on stay-at-home husbands.

Summary of Number of Stay-at-home Husbands

Based on the narrowest definition of stay-at-home husband — the wife works while the husband does not work and is not looking for work — there are 4,195,000 stay-at-home husbands in the U.S (6.97%).

Based on the broadest definition of stay-at-home husband — simply that the husband does not work — there are 17,803,000 stay-at-home husbands in the U.S. (29.6%).

Detailed Analysis on Number of Stay-at-home Husbands

In 2011 the U.S. Census Bureau reports there were 60,155,000 married couples in the United States. In 9.98 percent of U.S. married couples, only the wife works. 9.98 percent equates to 6,005,000 married couples in which the husband does not work while the wife works.

Comparatively, in 23.19 percent of U.S. married couples, only the husband works. 23.19 percent equals 13,950,000 married couples in which there is a stay-at-home wife.

Employment Status of U.S. Married Couples

The overall data combine two separate categories of stay-at-husbands. One group of stay-at-home husbands is in the labor force, but currently unemployed. The second group of stay-at-home husbands is not in the labor force.

The Census Bureau American Community Survey [pdf] divides the labor force into five categories:

  • (1) people who worked at any time during the reference week
  • (2) people on temporary layoff who were available for work
  • (3) people who did not work during the reference week but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent (excluding layoff)
  • (4) people who did not work during the reference week, but who were looking for work during the last four weeks and were available for work during the reference week
  • (5) people not in the labor force

People in the first four categories are defined as being “in the labor force”.

There are three different ways to classify the employment status of husbands in the U.S:


Employment Status Number Percentage
Working 42,351,000 70.4%
Not Working, But Looking For Work 2,884,000 4.8%
Not Working and Not Looking For Work 14,919,000 24.8%


The pie chart shows 29.6% of husbands in the U.S. are not working.

Employment Status of Husbands in the U.S.