Is anyone doing the housework? trends in the gender division of household labor

  • Bianchi S
  • Milkie M
  • Sayer L
 et al. 
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Abstract

Time-diary data from representative samples ofAmerican adults show thatthenumber ofoverall hours ofdomestic labor (excluding child care andshopping) has continued to decline steadily and predictably since 1965. This finding is mainly due to dramatic declines among women (both in and out of thepaidlabor market), whohave cuttheir housework hours almostin halfsince the 1960s: abouthalfof women's 12-hour-per-week decline can beaccounted for by compositional shifts -such as increased labor force participation, later marriage, andfewer children. In contrast, men's housework time has almost doubled during thisperiod (to thepoint where men were responsible for a third of housework in the 1990s), and only about 15% of theirfive-hour-per-week increase can be attributed to compositional factors. Parallel results on gender differences in housework were obtained from the National Survey of Families and Households estimate data, even though these produce figures 50% higher than diary data. Regression results examiningfactors related to wives' and husbands' housework hours show more support for the time-availability and relative-resource models of household production thanfor thegender perspective, although there issome support for the latter perspective aswell.

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Authors

  • Suzanne M. Bianchi

  • Melissa A. Milkie

  • Liana C. Sayer

  • John P. Robinson

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