Posted by: bridget | 2 September 2007

Statistical Prostitution, Part II

Researchers at George Mason and North Carolina State reported that women who are married do more housework than those who are part of a cohabitating couple (See, here and here.)  The researchers theorised that

The average age was 44 among the 9,517 women surveyed; it was 48 for the 8,119 men. The survey found about 14% of the men and the women were cohabiting with an unmarried partner, and the rest were married. About 40% of the women were employed full time, as were about 66% of the men. Davis says no information was collected about the length of marriages or cohabiting relationships.

So men work longer hours than women.  Presumably, married couples are more likely to have children; the woman would work part-time or stay at home, and, presumably, would take on more household work in exchange for not having a career.  While the out-of-wedlock birth rate has increased in recent years, more children are born to married parents than to single mothers: 37% of children are born out-of-wedlock, while 63% are born to married parents (See, here).  The researchers controlled for employment status; however, married men tend to work longer hours than cohabitating men.  Married couples may be more likely to share a house than an apartment; yard work and maintenance may not be included in the definition of “household labour,” but would undoubtedly change the perception of the division of labour.

Ideally, the NC State and GMU researchers would have done a longitudinal study of couples who cohabitate and then marry, without changing residences or the number of children in the household. As such, they could determine if the actual marriage act, independent of other variables, affects the division of labour. The study, as it stands now, has variables that cannot be quantified, such as the nature of people who cohabitate instead of marry; the effects of marriage upon other, non-household tasks; and the effects of the type of residence upon the division of labour.  So, ladies, calm down: men who walk down the aisle don’t stop caring about dust bunnies.



  1. i spent a big chunk of my day today cleaning my sons room. My wife dug in on our daughters. Have I skewed the study ?

  2. Yes. Especially if your son’s room is messier than your daughter’s.

  3. My fiancee & I don’t “cohabit”, but she still cleans, cooks, does the dishes, and does my laundry when she’s over. Has she skewed the study?

  4. No, because non-cohabitating engaged couples are not included in the study.

    In June, however, she will be part of the sad statistic which tells us that women who get married automatically revert to traditional gender roles, and, had she cohabitated with you instead of marrying you, YOU would have cooked, cleaned, done the dishes, and washed your own Swindle & Scheister shirt.

  5. Undereducated Opinion, that just means you have a great fiance’. Hurry up and get married!

  6. That last paragraph of mine was meant to be sarcastic.

  7. […] and followed them throughout their lives.  (Well, at least they used a longitudinal study, unlike these winners.)  About half never took the Pill; the other half had taken the Pill for at least some period of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: