Paid and unpaid work over three generations

By Katherine Marshall

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The study examines the profile and the time spent on paid and unpaid work for young adults from three generations—late baby boomers (born from 1957 to 1966) when they were age 20 to 29 in 1986, Generation X (1969 to 1978) which was in that age group in 1998, and Generation Y (1981 to 1990) which reached it in 2010.

Young adults from Generation Y were more likely to be single (67%), living at home (51%), and going to school (19%) compared with their counterparts in the two previous generations.

Time spent on employment and housework was also most alike for young men and women of Generation Y. At ages 20 to 29, late baby boom men did, on average, 1.4 hours more paid work per day than women. In Generation Y, this difference had narrowed to 1.1 hours.

When late baby boomer women were age 20 to 29, they did 1.2 hours more housework per day than men. By the time Generation Y was the same age, the difference had narrowed to 0.4 hours.

Average daily time spent on paid work and housework by men and women in young dual-earner couples is more alike for those without children and particularly so for Generation Y.

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