A new survey puts D.C. in the top 10 for working fathers. (Courtesy photo)
Courtesy photo

The District of Columbia has earned the distinction of being one of the best places in the country for working dads.

In a pre-Father’s Day survey, analysts for personal-finance site WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states and the District across 22 key indicators of friendliness toward working dads.

In the report, the District ranked ninth with a score of 61.10.

The District ranked seventh in the category of work and life balance and also fared well in the health and economic and social well-being categories.

The data set used by experts set ranges from average length of work day for males to child care costs to share of men in good or better health.

The top five states for working dad were Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Massachusetts and New Jersey. The bottom five were Mississippi, Nevada, West Virginia, New Mexico and Louisiana.

Virginia and Maryland ranked 12th and 16th, respectfully.

“Working parents today face a multitude of challenges because our nation’s workplace policies do not reflect some of their most basic health and economic needs,” said WalletHub expert Vicki Shabo, who serves as vice president at the National Partnership for Women & Families in northwest D.C.

The absence of family-friendly workplace support increases work and family conflicts for dads and perpetuates inequities in caregiving responsibilities among opposite-sex couples, Shabo said.

“These challenges are often framed as women’s issues, but dads today are spending more time than dads did in the past caring for their kids, and they are feeling levels of work-life conflict similar to women and want to be doing more at home,” she said.

Further, there’s been a significant cultural shift in recognizing the important role of fathers in the early lives of their children, Shabo said.

Data from private sector and existing paid family leave programs show that men are increasingly taking paid paternal leave when it is available to them, she said.

One thing that fathers can do to strike the right balance between career and family would be to live within their means, said W. Bradford Wilcox, a WalletHub expert and director of the National Marriage Project and professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia.

“Debt is a cancer for many couples and families. It limits options, causes stress, and increase the odds that couples land in divorce court,” Wilcox said. “So fathers should not buy homes that are beyond their price range and steer clear of accumulating credit card debt.”

Wilcox also recommends “parking smartphones on a charger in the kitchen when you get home and keep it there as much as you can.”

The less time spent on the smartphone, the less stressed a dad will be and the better example they’ll offer their children, he said.

“Build technology fasts into your weekly schedule, especially on the weekend, but the bottom line is, don’t let technology interfere with family life,” Wilcox said. “Let your kids know that you are working for them and introduce them to basic budgeting. And make sure that they contribute to the chores around the home, both so they learn domestic skills and so you have more time for them and their mother.”

For the complete survey, go to https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-working-dads/13458/#.

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Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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