The Pew Research Center has come out with more interesting statistics on how many families now have two working parents, who the highest earner usually is (him or her), and who handles the greater load of responsibility for children and the running of the household.
According to the study, conducted from September 15th through October 13th, 2015, in two-parent families, parenting and household chores are shared more equally when both parents work full time, as opposed to when Mom is employed part time or unemployed. However, even when both parents work full time outside the home, women handle the greater share at home.
The study’s 1,807 participants revealed that only 26% of the women are presently stay at home Moms, which is a big drop from 40 years ago. Their medium household income is much higher, yet finding a way to balance work and home life continues to present a significant challenge the couples report.
What is most interesting is the discrepancy between how men and women scored the division of labor in their homes. Both groups of Moms, those who were employed and those who weren’t—reported that they did more on every item listed in the survey than their spouses (64% report they do more). Men on the other hand reported across the board that they handle a greater share than what their wives have said. 31% or Moms say the work is shared equally, 41% of Dads say that they do half.
They are in closer agreement on who focuses more on their work—the majority are in agreement that men do. It should be noted that whether the Mom works part time, full time, or is a stay at home parent, He usually earns more—which may be why his work is (needs to be?) a primary focus for him.
Given the statistics, women report more stress when trying to find a balance between work and home. In addition it would make sense that if they are more focused on home that this would be their priority and where their heart is. For dads, it is also a priority, but it seems they often leave the home/child worry to their spouses.
Another interesting statistic is how those with a college education differ from those without one. For both women and men, there is a 20+% difference in how much they struggle with this balance, with the college educated finding it much harder. White parents are also more likely to cite balance as a problem over non-whites. There were also differences between those who report enjoying parenthood and those who don’t enjoy it as much. Of course, the stress that comes from the work/home juggling act is a factor and when it is not felt as strongly, parents report more enjoyment in that role. THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO TAKE NOTE OF.
The study also goes on to offer data on how parenting impacts career goals—and there is a lot of breakdown on male VS female perceptions about how well they share responsibility and prioritize their home life and children. Since these issues are what many marital therapists like I are frequently confronted with—this study could provide useful insights to both struggling couples and those who are tasked with helping them. Click here to go to the study