Youth Perspectives

Parents spend twice as much time with their kids than they did in the 1960s

A child eats ice cream with his mother during the hot weather at the South Bank in London August 18, 2012.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor  (BRITAIN - Tags: ENVIRONMENT) - LM1E88I18I301

In 2012 the average mother spent 104 minutes caring for their children Image: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Laura Oliver
Writers, Forum Agenda
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Youth Perspectives

Parents in middle-class families are spending twice as much time with their children than they did nearly 50 years ago.

According to research looking at 11 wealthy countries published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the average mother in 2012 spent 104 minutes a day caring for her children. Compare this to 1965 when the daily average was just 54 minutes.

Image: Economist.com

While The Economist's charts suggests that men still do less than women, things have improved: an average father in 1965 spent just 16 minutes a day tending to their children; by 2012 this had risen to 59 minutes.

Image: Economist.com

But the figures also suggest a growing gap between working and middle-class families, in particular, between mothers with a university education and those without. While in 1965 both sets of mothers devoted roughly the same amount of time to looking after their children, in 2012 mothers with a university education – except those in France – were spending 30 minutes more on childcare a day.

Read the full Economist article here (paywall).

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