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Men continued to increase their unpaid hours spent in caring for family members or friends, or performing housework or maintenance during the past decade. But they still lagged behind women in the time they allocated to these activities.
Between 1996 and 2006, the share of men participating in unpaid housework activities increased nationally by 3.5 percentage points from 84.4% to 87.9%. The corresponding rate among women held relatively steady at 92.6% in 2006.
However, a smaller proportion of women were devoting long hours to unpaid housework than was the case 10 years earlier. About 19.8% of women spent 30 unpaid hours or more a week performing housework in 2006, down 4.8 percentage points from 24.6% in 1996.
The overall participation of women in unpaid childcare activities fell between 1996 and 2006 from 42.3% to 40.7%, as the share of adults in private households with children fell.
In 2006, 86% of women living in a private household with at least one child under 15 years, reported spending some time in unpaid childcare activities—this share remained relatively constant over 10 years. However, more of these women spent 30 hours or more each week in childcare activities, increasing from 44.7% in 1996 to 47.3% a decade later.
At the same time, the proportion of men who spent any unpaid time caring for children rose from 77.1% to 79.5%. But like their female counterparts, they were putting in more time. Just over one-fifth (21.8%) spent 30 hours or more each week in 2006 caring for children, compared with only 16.9% in 1996.