Publications

Working Paper No. 440 | February 2006

Parental Child Care in Single Parent, Cohabiting, and Married Couple Families

Time Diary Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom

This study uses time diary data from the 2003 American Time Use Survey and the United Kingdom Time Use Survey 2000 to examine the time that single, cohabiting, and married parents devote to caring for their children. Time spent in market work, in child care as a primary activity, and in child care as a passive activity are jointly modeled using a correlated, censored regression model. Separate estimates are provided by gender, by country, and by weekend/weekday day. We find no evidence that these time allocation decisions differ for cohabiting and married parents, but there is evidence that single persons allocate time differently - as might be expected, given different household time constraints. In the US single fathers spend significantly more time in primary child care on weekdays and substantially less time in passive child care on weekends than their married or cohabiting counterparts, while in the UK single fathers spend significantly more time in passive child care on weekdays. Single fathers in each country report less time at work on weekdays than their married or cohabiting counterparts. In the US, single mothers work more than married or cohabiting mothers on weekdays, while single mothers in the United Kingdom work less than married or cohabiting mothers on all days.

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Author(s):
Charlene M. Kalenkoski David C. Ribar Leslie S. Stratton

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