Pew has some new data out that sheds some light on the prevalence of stay-at-home fathers.
You see two things here. One is that every time you see an increase in the number of stay-at-home dads, there's a recession happening. And every time the economy recovers, the number of stay-at-home dads declines.
To Bradley Wilcox this is a sure sign that stay-at-home dadism is a purely cyclical phenomenon:
@DLeonhardt @mattyglesias Clearly surge in stay-at-home dads after Great Recession hits & now stay-at-home dads declining as $ improves— W Bradford Wilcox (@WilcoxNMP) June 5, 2014
But I think that's far too simple. Each time the economy recovers, the share of stay-at-home dads declines. But it doesn't decline all the way back to where it was before the recession started. The business cycle, in other words, seems to intersect with shifting gender norms. If the economy keeps recovering, we should expect to see more and more dads reenter the labor force (moms too) but there likely will be a more lasting impact.