Dual-Income Households Are More Common Than Ever, But Women Are Still Doing Most Of The Housework

Despite about 29% of marriages being egalitarian (bringing in equal income), women still spend double the time doing housework in their free time compared to men.

By Brian Scheid | Published


Over the past 100 years, we have witnessed the biggest shift in gender responsibilities that humanity has ever experienced. For thousands of years, the roles were undisputable; the men went out and were responsible for gathering everything that a family needed to survive, and the women were at home taking care of raising the children and using whatever the men brought home to feed and care for the household. That has changed, and with women now bringing in a dual income, it would make sense that men would begin to be more responsible for picking up an equal share of the household responsibilities but that is not what recent data collected shows.

Women have been entering the workforce in droves over the last 60 years and this has created what is referred to as egalitarian marriages. This is a marriage in which the man and woman contribute equally to the household income. If women have increased their percentage of contribution to the household income then you would think that men would start to pick up an equal share of the household and child-raising responsibilities. However, that has not been the case, and the percentage of time spent managing the household and raising the children is still disproportionate in comparison with the equal income generation by the woman.

According to NPR, “Wives are still spending more than double the amount of time on housework than their husbands (4.6 hours per week for women vs. 1.9 hours per week for men), and almost two hours more per week on caregiving, including tending to children.” The overall percentage of egalitarian marriages has been increasing since 1972. It currently stands at 29 percent of all marriages being egalitarian, which is a 19 percent increase from 1972 when 10 percent of marriages were dual income.

Over the years, the gap has been narrowing in regard to men picking up a larger percentage of the household duties, but it is still not a complete 50/50 shared responsibility. That is largely due to the imbalance in attitudes about where women and men belong. According to a Pew Research Center survey, “More than half (57%) of the 5,152 people Pew surveyed said society puts more stock in what men do at work. Only 7% said they think society values what men do at home more.”

NPR also reported that the survey showed, “meanwhile, only 20% of respondents said society values what women do at work more, whereas 31% said society values women’s contributions at home more.” The survey also notes that young people are more likely to be cynical about it and lean heavily towards society feeling that women are more valued at home, whereas older Americans are more likely to say that a women’s value is equal both at home and at work. This might be because older Americans have seen more of the complete picture of the progress women have made in the workplace in our lifetimes.

The disparity in equal contribution in the household could also be correlated to the fact that women yearned to have a greater role in contributing to the income of a household and were the drivers behind the change in gender roles.  Men, on the other hand, were not looking to do more housework in the first place, so they are slowly adjusting but in general, they are not excited nor driven to handle those duties at home.

When we look at women’s gains in education and value in the workplace it is undoubtedly increasing at a historic rate and does not appear to be letting up. If the women are contributing a dual income and using the proverbial term, “bringing home the bacon,” then men need to start getting their frying pans greased up and be ready to hear the sizzle as men cook that bacon for their spouses and children. And make sure not to forget that you will need to do the dishes after everyone has finished eating and sweep the dining room area while you are at it.