SALT LAKE CITY — Most dads work outside the home, but if they were paid for what they do around the house, they'd earn a tidy chunk of additional change.
That's according to Insure.com's annual Father's Day Index, which applies the federal wage data to tasks fathers tackle at home. This year, it's valued at $26,977 a year, which is a new high.
"Insure.com used recent wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and estimated hours of time spent accomplishing tasks to calculate a 'salary' for dad," the organization said in a news release. "The earnings are based on his contributions to the household for 13 professions that reflect common chores and activities done around the home and for the family."
Think pest control, cooking and grounds maintenance, recreation and teaching, among other tasks.
While the index is a lighthearted look at fathers, researchers offer a more serious look at how valuable dad is to family life.
Pew Research this week published "8 facts about American dads" that finds the share of fathers who live in the same home as their children is shrinking, but those who do are taking on a a larger share of caregiver duties and housework.
The report, written by Pew's Gretchen Livingston and Kim Parker, says "57 percent of dads see parenting as central to their identity," which is similar to the share of mothers who say that, at 58 percent.
More than half of dads also say it's challenging to balance work and family. And 63 percent of dads lament they don't have more time to spend with their kids. The reason is, not unexpectedly, primarily their work obligations, but a fair share say they don't see the kids as often as they'd like because they live elsewhere, or the kids are too busy with other activities.
The number of fathers who are stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled since 1989, but it's a very small share, at 7 percent. One-fourth of them are home specifically to care for their children.
Kids think dads are important to their lives — and social scientists agree. W. Bradford Wilcox summarized some of the research a few years ago in The Atlantic, noting that fathers play differently, encourage risk and help children explore boundaries.
The "difference good dads make" includes a decrease in teenage delinquency, pregnancy and depression, wrote Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, senior fellow at the Institute forFamily Studies and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
That's hard to put a price tag on, but it would appear to be priceless. Happy Father's Day, guys!