Volume 3, Number 43 - March 22, 2002
Men Doing 16 Hours Of Housework


    Men are doing 33 percent more housework today than they did in 1965, a University of Michigan survey showed.
   The study by U-M's Institute for Social Research found American men performing 16 hours of housework a week, compared with 12 hours in 1965.
   Researchers analyzed data from time diaries and questionnaires asking men and women to recall how much time they spend on housework in an average week. Housework included cooking, cleaning and doing other work around the house.
   Women are still doing much more housework than men, about 27 hours a week.
   Despite beliefs Americans are working more hours than ever, the time diary data indicate total work hours decreased substantially from 1965 to 1985 for both men and women. From 1989 to 1999, the questionnaire recall data indicate paid work in the labor market increased by 10 percent for men and 17 percent for women, reflecting the decade's strong job market and the increasing labor market participation of women.
   The analysis, part of a study on time-use trends in the United States and other industrialized countries, found the number of hours men reported doing housework rose steadily between 1965 and 1985 but stalled in the 1990s, likely due to a strong labor market. The number of hours women performed housework during the decade fell as well.
   "But there's some reason to believe these low levels of housework will persist even in today's weaker job market, since our research shows that most people rate routine housework as the least enjoyable use of their time," ISR researcher Frank Stafford said.
   Men seem to work more hours overall -- market labor plus housework -- than women in countries with high levels of income, the study found, while women work longer hours elsewhere.
   Swedish men put in 24 hours a week on chores, more than men in other countries, while Japanese men do the least housework, about four hours a week. Hungarian women do the most housework while Russian women do the least. 
   "Cross-national comparisons of the gender gap in housework hours indicate that Americans are less gender egalitarian than the Swedes but more egalitarian than the Japanese," ISR researcher and sociologist Hiromi Ono said.
   Leisure time is greatest in Japan, Sweden and the United States and lowest in Hungary, for both men and women, with television viewing substantially higher in Japan than elsewhere, especially among women. 
   The study is funded by the National Science Foundation and the United States-Japan Foundation. 

   The researchers have been collecting data since 1965 in Japan, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Finland and Hungary.
Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
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