Marital Status and Mothers’ Time Use: Child Care, Housework, Leisure, and Sleep

Joanna Pepin, University of Maryland
Lynne M. Casper, University of Southern California

Despite changes in women’s time use largely due to rising female employment, assumptions that single mothers are “time-poor” compared to married mothers persists. We use the 2003-2012 American Time Use Survey to examine variation in mothers’ time spent in housework, child care, leisure, and sleep by their marital status. Mothers’ childcare time does not vary by union status, suggesting that behavioral propensities to engage in child care are similar for all mothers. Married mothers do more housework and spend less time sleeping than other mothers. Married and divorced mothers have significantly less leisure time compared with never married mothers. Demographic characteristics of mothers, such as higher employment and education, reduce time spent on housework, as well as leisure and sleep time, but these effects do not differ by mothers’ living arrangements. These results provide no support for the time poverty thesis but offer some support for the doing gender perspective.

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 Presented in Session P4. Children and Youth/Population and Aging