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Men's Share of Housework Remains Same Since 1985

Saturday, March 16, 2002

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(WOMENSENEWS)--American men spend no more time on housework today than they did in 1985, and do only four more hours of housework per week than they did in 1965, a new study reports.

While women in the United States perform 13 percent less housework than they did in 1985, they still spend 60 percent more time on chores than men--an average of 27 hours a week, according to the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, which released the study on March 12.

"The lack of recent growth in housework hours among men may reflect the strong labor market during the 1990s," said Frank Stafford, one of the study's researchers.

Researchers analyzed data from diaries and questionnaires filled out by people in seven countries, including Canada, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Russia, Sweden and the United States. They concluded that Swedish men do the most work around the house--24 hours a week--and that Japanese men help out the least, at only four hours. Swedish women spend 33 hours a week on housework and Japanese women spend 29 hours.

Total work time, defined as market labor plus housework, was slightly higher for men than women in countries with higher average incomes, including Japan, the United States and Sweden. In contrast, women have substantially more total work time than men in Russia, Finland and Hungary.

Men and women in every nation reported that routine housework was the least enjoyable use of their time.