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Four fatherly facts about Sweden's 'equal' dads

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A Swedish dad with his children. Photo: Sofi Rosenkvist/imagebank.sweden.se
16:42 CET+01:00
Swedes celebrated Father's Day this Sunday. Here are four facts and statistics about being a dad in the famously most gender equal country in the world.

1. They have children in their thirties

The average age for first-time fathers in Sweden is 31.5 years, according to Statistics Sweden. Stockholmers wait the longest before they procreate, with the capital's Danderyd suburb topping the list at 34 years. The youngest ones, one the other hand, live in Grästorp near Trollhättan in western Sweden, where the average father welcomes his first child into the world at the age fof 27.3.


The average age of a first-time dad is 31.5 years. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/imagebank.sweden.se

2. They get very generous paternity leave

Sweden has some of the most generous parental leave in the world, with 480 days per child, which the two parents can split between them in, by and large, any way they choose. Two months (three from next year) are reserved for each individual parent and cannot be claimed by the other.

However, Swedish dads still only claim around 25 percent of the total days, according to the Social Insurance Agency. But those who do often go all in, with Swedish cafes full of the country's notorious 'latte pappas' enjoying a coffee break before heading to the park with their kids...every day for a year or two.

Dads in the northern Västerbotten county claim the most paternity leave, compared to fathers in southern Skåne, who claim the least, according to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

READ ALSO: Swedish dads project gives surprise snapshot


A dad looking after his young child. Photo: Kristin Lidell/imagebank.sweden.se

3. They stay at home with their sick kids

To help parents cope with the life puzzle, as Swedes like to call it, dads (and mums) who stay at home from work to look after their little ones when they are ill still get 80 percent of their salary paid out. It's called VAB and stands for 'vård av sjukt barn' (care of sick child). The verb: vabba.

Dads currently claim around 37.5 percent of the VAB, according to the Social Insurance Agency. Word of warning: don't tell the authorities you're at home looking after your sick child when in fact you're on a booze cruise to Germany, as one Swedish dad did recently


A dad looking after his sick child. Photo: Kristin Lidell/imagebank.sweden.se

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4. Their 'day' was moved to accommodate businesses

The annual celebration of Father's Day (Fars Dag) falls on the second Sunday of November and is a staple of the Swedish calendar. It is believed that Swedes imported the custom from the United States way back in 1931, some 12 years after Mother's Day had begun.

Initially it was celebrated in June, as it still is in the UK and US, but following pressure from businesses it was shifted to November to give the quiet month a boost in trade. A survey by HUI Research suggested that Swedes on average spend 281 kronor on their dads on Father's Day. The most common presents are taking him out for dinner, giving him a book or some chocolate.


A Swedish dad and his children. Photo: Niclas Vestefjell/imagebank.sweden.se

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