We are a Microtrend. I did not know that.

Did you know that the phenomenon of older guys becoming fathers is a Microtrend?

Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes, includes a chapter on recycled dads — or, as the authors put it, “Old New Dads.” Those authors, Mark Penn and Kinney Zalesne, were kind enough to ‘adapt’ the chapter into a Babble.com article that seems to explain everything about us in fewer than 1,200 words.

So if you’re cheap and lazy, just read the article rather than hunting down the book or buying it online.

If you are cheap and ridiculously lazy, read my <400-word summary of the article.

If you encounter something (in the article or this post) that you strongly agree or disagree with, please feel free to leave a comment.

My summary:

There has been an explosion in the number of men ages 40 to 44 who are fathering children. That’s represented by the solid line in this graphic:

Reasons there are more “Old New Dads”:

  • More older women are having children.
  • The divorce rate continues to increase.
  • Men tend to marry soon after divorce, and to marry younger women the next time.
  • There is “a combination of biology and success” that makes it feasible and appealing for older men to have children.

Implications (negative)

  • “Old New Dads” have trouble keeping up with their kids physically.
  • “Old New Dads” have fewer years with their kids.
  • “Old New Dads need to work longer, and retire later, in order to pay for college tuition and other expenses of child rearing later in life.”

Implications (positive)

  • “Old New Dads” dads are more relaxed, satisfied and ‘engaged’ in their roles as parents.
  • “Old New Dads” experience “the joys of family life” in a period that might otherwise be less meaningful for some men.
  • “Old New Dads” are a strong consumer segment and have more resources to share with their families.

“Old New Dads” have hardly been studied, even though “in 2001, the number of children born to fathers over 40 was practically equal to the number of children born to mothers under 19.”

(The article suggests) the children of “Old New Dads” gain as much from having more mature role models as they lose by having less physically active fathers.

In the final paragraphs: heavy thoughts about “our aging-parent support system,” the political clout of “Old New Dads,” and the notion that these dads disrupt traditional voting patterns by having the values and priorities of men 20 years younger.

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