Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Here's How Families Are Managing Responsibilities When Both Mom and Dad Work

More dual earners means more sharing of household duties, Pew Research Center finds

Mom and Dad both work full-time jobs in 46 percent of two-parent American families, up from 31 percent in 1970, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center in Washington.

While that share is still lower than its all-time peak of 48.6 percent in 2000, an improving labor market and the possibility of higher wages mean leaving the home and entering the workforce is a more attractive option for some parents. 

full-time families

That's often to the benefit of families' finances: The median household income for those with two full-time working parents and at least one child younger than 18 years old at home is $102,400, versus $55,000 when the father works full time and the mother isn't employed, Pew finds.

The Pew survey was conducted Sept. 15 to Oct. 13 among about 1,800 U.S. parents with children under 18. The report was co-authored by Kim Parker, Pew's director of social trends research and Juliana Menasce Horowitz, an associate director.

Here's how those households say they're splitting up tasks at a time when both parents are increasingly likely to work:

More work = more balance

In households where both the mother and father work full time, most parents say they share household chores equally, disciplining children and playing with the kids. When it comes to managing the youngsters' schedules, 54 percent of such parents say Mom does more. This compares to households where the father works full time and the mother works part time or not at all, in which mothers take on more parenting tasks and household responsibilities.

"In many areas, we see that in families where both parents work full time, there is more sharing of responsibilities at home happening," Horowitz said in an interview.

household balance

Shared career focus

When both mother and father work full time, 62 percent of parents say both are equally focused on his or her job or career. That compares with households where the father works full time and the mother works part time, in which just 32 percent say the job focus is shared and 63 percent say Dad is more concentrated on his career.

career goals

Equal work, not necessarily equal pay

Just 26 percent of parents in families where both mother and father work full-time jobs say they and their spouses or partners earn the same amount of money. Exactly 50 percent say the father earns more, while 22 percent say Mom earns more.

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