Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hours spent on childcare by mothers and fathers, 2003–07

December 09, 2009

"Coupled" mothers of infants spent over 3 more hours on weekdays in total childcare time and around an hour and a half longer on weekend days than coupled mothers with older children.

Time spent on childcare per day, parents of infants and of older children, 2003–07
[Chart data]

Compared with coupled mothers of infants, single mothers allocate less time to total childcare.

Coupled fathers with infants spent around an hour longer on total childcare as compared with coupled fathers with children aged 1–12. Not surprisingly, coupled fathers devoted more time to total childcare on weekends, with about 4 additional hours on the average weekend day for total childcare in comparison with the average weekday. Most fathers’ childcare occurred with a spouse or partner present: on weekend days, over 6 hours out of a total of 9.5 hours of total childcare time were spent with a spouse or partner present.

These data are from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) and are featured in "The parenting of infants: a time-use study" (PDF), in the Monthly Labor Review, October 2009. The ATUS was first administered in 2003; survey data spanning 5 years were used to calculate these time use figures. Unmarried partners, as well as spouses living in the same household, are classified as "coupled."


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Hours spent on childcare by mothers and fathers, 2003–07 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/ted_20091209.htm (visited November 30, 2021).


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