Economic Woman

Econometrics, gender, equity and more.

Chores and Marriage

with 4 comments

Things are a little slow this week due to a couple exams and a research deadline. (In related news, I think I’ve decided that macro isn’t my thing.) Posts should pick up next week.

A study shows that married women do seven extra hours of housework, and married men do one hour less. That’s a net increase of five hours. It’s a wonder anyone gets married. But wait, what do they mean by chores?

Other activities such as home repairs, mowing the lawn, and shoveling (sic) snow were not in the study. “Items such as gardening are usually viewed as more enjoyable; the focus here is on core housework,” says Stafford.

Now there’s a gendered view of housework. Traditionally male pursuits are “the fun chores.” First off, I know no one who enjoys shovelling. And I know more than one person who loves vacuuming. Let’s give those wayward husbands (or wives) credit for doing the “fun” chores too. In any case, unless the study is missing ten hours of yard work, there’s a significant gap:

Based on 2005 data, which have been compared to those from national time diaries, the research shows women, of all ages with no children, on average do 10 hours of housework a week before marriage and 17 hours of housework a week after marriage. Men of all ages with no children, on the other hand, do eight hours before marriage and seven hours afterwards.

These numbers don’t automatically distinguish between exploitation and a mutually beneficial division of labour. I’d be more interested in a study which adds up housework hours and hours spent in conventional employment – I bet the women would still be working longer then.

(Hat tip to Feministing.)

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Written by Allison

4 May 2008 at 11:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. […] Woman has a post out on a study that shows how the division of housework changes post-wedding day. Women, it turns out, do seven hours of housework more per week after they marry than they did […]

    Division of Labor

    5 May 2008 at 10:30 pm

  2. Our research into household economic wellbeing use time-use (American Time Use Survey) data and find that, indeed women do more work overall: for 2000 the breakdown is,

    [hours per year (2000), average, over 19]
    men women
    market 1,636 1,120
    house 949 1,527
    total 2,585 2,647

    Look for more recent numbers on our site later this year.

    Thomas Masterson

    15 May 2008 at 5:05 pm

  3. Here are (better) numbers for 2004:
    Average Weekly Hours by Sex and Marital Status
    _____________Market___House__Total __|
    Single Female _| 18.65 _|_ 23.26 _|_ 41.81 _|
    Married Female | 21.46 _|_ 34.16 _|_ 55.62 _|
    Single Male ___| 22.76 _|_ 13.93 _|_ 46.73 _|
    Married Male __| 34.01 _|_ 20.64 _|_ 54.65 _|

    Thomas Masterson

    15 May 2008 at 5:22 pm

  4. […] study, but strangely enough I couldn’t find it. There are studies on hours of work – remember this post – but there must be some child care equivalent of this study on the economic value of informal […]


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