ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Having a husband creates an extra seven hours a week of housework for women, according to a University of Michigan study of a nationally representative sample of U.S. families.
For men, the picture is very different: A wife saves men from about an hour of housework a week.
The findings are part of a detailed study of housework trends, based on 2005 time-diary data from the federally-funded Panel Study of Income Dynamics, conducted since 1968 at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).
"It's a well-known pattern," said ISR economist Frank Stafford, who directs the study. "There's still a significant reallocation of labor that occurs at marriage---men tend to work more outside the home, while women take on more of the household labor. Certainly there are all kinds of individual differences here, but in general, this is what happens after marriage. And the situation gets worse for women when they have children."
Overall, the amount of housework done by U.S. women has dropped considerably since 1976, while the amount of housework done by men has increased, according to Stafford. In 1976, women did an average of 26 hours of housework a week, compared with about 17 hours in 2005. Men did about six hours of housework a week in 1976, compared with about 13 hours in 2005.
But when the researchers looked at just the last 10 years, comparing how much housework single men and women in their 20s did in 1996 with how much they did in 2005 if they stayed single versus if they got married, they found a slightly different pattern.
Both the men and the women who got married did more housework than those who stayed single, the analysis showed. "Marriage is no longer a man's path to less housework," said Stafford, a professor in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from time diaries, considered the most accurate way to assess how pe
|Contact: Diane Swanbrow|
University of Michigan