That’s according to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a federally funded, diary-based study of family dynamics conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. They’ve been tracking household labor since 1968.

husbands cause 7 extra hours of workThe latest analysis comes from time-diary data from 2005, which shows that some traditional family values remain true. Men work more outside the home and women work more at home. Children change things, too. And time has changed the situation as well.

In general, the number of hours spent each week on housework in the US since 1976 has dropped for women but has increased for men. In 1976, women spent about 26 hours cleaning house each week but the hours dropped to about 17 in 2005. Men claimed six hours of housework in 1976 but they did about 13 in 2005. For the purpose of the study, housework is defined as cooking, cleaning, and other basic work around the house. Washing the car, gardening, and household repairs are not considered housework.

For men and women alike, marriage generates more housework today than bachelorhood. Single women in the twenty- to thirty-something age range do about 12 hours of housework each week these days while married women in their 60s and 70s do about 21 hours. Younger men do less housework than older men, too, but the bachelors of any age do more housework than married men.

Children, as can be expected, alter the workload dramatically. Married mothers with three or more children average 28 hours of housework each while their fathers report only 10 hours of weekly household labor.

So, if a bride gains seven extra hours of housework each week, how does marriage affect the household workload of her spouse? It’s reduced by about an hour from his bachelor days.

Source: University of Michigan


  • Based on your personal experiences, would you agree with these findings?