Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 470–484

Cohabitating Partners and Domestic Labor in Low-Income Black Families


DOI: 10.1007/s12111-014-9285-6

Cite this article as:
Reid, M., Golub, A. & Vazan, P. J Afr Am St (2014) 18: 470. doi:10.1007/s12111-014-9285-6


This article examines the division of domestic labor in low-income cohabiting Black stepfamilies. We analyze survey data collected from 136 such families in order to understand how stepparent gender and relationship length impact the distribution of domestic labor. We hypothesize that women do more domestic work than men across all three family types, and that stepfathers are more involved in domestic labor in established relationships compared to new relationships. Findings indicate that cohabiting stepfathers in both new and established cohabiting Black stepfamilies make substantial contributions to domestic labor. These families demonstrate a division of labor consistent with traditional gender roles, though both partners agree on how much work each does. Parents, regardless of gender, are more involved in domestic labor than stepparents.


Black familiesCohabitationDivision of laborParentingStepfathers

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Development and Research Institutes, Inc.New YorkUSA