When asked whether the job of being a father is easier, more difficult or about the same as it was a generation ago, 63% of fathers with children under age 18 say it is more difficult; 8 percent say is easier and 26% say it is about the same. Among men, fathers are more likely than other men to say dads have taken on a greater role in recent decades (52% vs. 39%).

Mothers are more likely than fathers to say that today’s dads are more engaged with their children. Among mothers with children under age 18, 49% say fathers today spend more time with their children than fathers did 20 or 30 years ago. Only 36% of dads agree.
Just about all fathers agree that the benefits of being a parent are worth the costs and the work; 70% say they agree strongly and another 27% agree.

There is little agreement, however, with the notion that people can’t be truly happy if they are not parents. Among fathers, only a small minority (14%) agrees or strongly agrees with the statement that people can’t be really happy unless they have children; 84% disagree or strongly disagree.

Men with no children are less likely than fathers to think that people can’t be really happy unless they have children—some 8% agree or strongly agree with that statement, while 91% disagree or strongly disagree. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.