Majority of parents say it is harder to be a parent now, compared to 20 years ago

Beliefs in women’s opportunities for advancement vary among men and women

The author(s)

  • Jennifer Berg Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Talia Wiseman Senior Research Analyst
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Washington, DC, August 25, 2021 -  A recent Ipsos poll finds that nearly seven in ten parents agree that it is harder to be a parent these days, compared to 20 years ago. In addition to being more likely to be responsible for the majority of childcare in the household, mothers are more likely than fathers to believe parenting has become harder. The poll also finds that nearly two thirds of all women do not believe they have the same opportunities for advancements as men. Less than half of men say the same.


Detailed Findings

1. Nearly seven in ten parents agree that it is harder to be a parent these days, compared to 20 years ago (69%).

  • More mothers (72%) than fathers (65%) say that being a parent these days is harder than 20 years ago. Women are also more likely to bear the larger burden of childcare, with 87% of women with children under 18 saying they are responsible for the majority of childcare and decision making in their household, 18 percentage points above men with children under 18 (69%).
  • Mothers of children under 18 also say they need more opportunities for self-care (69%) and help with parenting from family and friends (54%), while only 57% and 39%, respectively, of fathers say the same.
  • A majority of parents (88%), regardless of the age of their child, agree that it is more expensive to be a parent these days than 20 years ago.

2. Nearly two thirds of all women do not believe women have the same opportunities for career advancement as men.

  • Men and women do not agree on women’s advancement opportunities. Half of all men (51%) believe they have the same opportunities, while only a third (34%) of women agree.
  • Three quarters of all women believe the gender pay gap is real (74%), while only 3 in 5 men (62%) say the same.
  • Among those currently employed, two in five women (42%) say there are not enough women in positions of leadership in their current field, 7 points higher than employed men (35%).
  • One in five men believe that women are paid less money than men because they don't prioritize work as much (20%). Only 11% of women agree.

About the Study 

This Ipsos poll was conducted August 20 – 22, 2021, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,027 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 534 Males and 493 Females.  

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.15. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, race/ethnicity by gender, race/ethnicity by age, and race/ethnicity by education. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) except for the metropolitan status, which is not available from the 1-year ACS data, were obtained from the 2020 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–25, 26–39, 40-54 and 55+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, Other)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) by Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Age (18-44, 45+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Education (Some College or less, Bachelor and beyond)

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos 

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Jennifer Berg Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Talia Wiseman Senior Research Analyst

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