NEW JERSEY -- Fatherhood is a responsibility which changes over time. For instance, in 1960, 75% of American families relied on a single income -- usually the dad -- who spent much of his week at work while mom stayed home with the kids. Today, two-thirds of family households depend on two incomes. Further, the contemporary dad no longer fits neatly into the standard of the married breadwinner and disciplinarian. That’s especially true this year, as many fathers are working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and face the unusual circumstance of spending more time with their children during the day and helping teach them while schools are closed.

With Father’s Day approaching and many dads working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, personal-finance website WalletHub released its 2020 report on Best & Worst States for Working Dads. Ranking 1st in lowest unemployment rate for dads with children under age 18, New Jersey was ranked the 5th Best State for Working Dads, according to the study.

WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 23 key indicators of friendliness toward working dads. The data set included average length of work day, child-care costs, and share of men in good health.

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Regardless of the changing identity and priorities of the modern dad, fatherhood remains a tough job, and a father’s ability to provide for his family is central to his role. However, not all working dads are in the same situation; those who live in states, like New Jersey, with greater economic opportunity and quality of life have it better than others. (See chart below.)

"Some of the factors that contributed to New Jersey's top five ranking include a high median family income, the lowest unemployment rate for dads with young kids, and a high averaged freshman graduation rate for men," said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez in an interview with TAPintoSPF. "The state also ranks high in terms of parental leave policies, has low child care costs, and a high quality state school system."

Overall Rank State Total Score ‘Economic & Social Well-Being’ Rank ‘Work-Life Balance’ Rank ‘Child Care’ Rank ‘Health’ Rank
1 Massachusetts 74.96 3 1 1 4
2 Minnesota 70.87 1 9 2 2
3 Connecticut 69.04 4 11 3 1
4 District of Columbia 65.7 8 7 8 9
5 New Jersey 65.47 7 6 7 17

How can young fathers strike the right balance between career and family?

"A good way to strike the right balance between career and family is to separate family time and work time very well. It's important to focus entirely on your job when you're working, but also leaving anything work related when you're spending time with your children and family," Gonzalez added. "Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, especially during this work-from-home period."

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