, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 423-436

Changes in children’s time with parents: United States, 1981–1997

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In this paper we examine changes in the time American children spent with their parents between 1981 and 1997, and the contribution to these changes made by shifting patterns of female labor force participation, family structure, and parental education. We decompose changes into the parts attributable to changes in demographic characteristics and the parts probably due to changes in behavior. In general, children’s time with parents did not decrease over the period; in two-parent families it increased substantially. Population-level changes in demographic characteristics exerted only small direct effects on the time children spent with parents.

Funding for this research was provided by the NICHD Family and Child Well-Being Research Network and by a training grant from NICHD to the Population Studies Center. The authors wish to thank John Bound, Pam Smock, and Mary Noonan for helpful comments. A revised version of this paper was presented at the annual meetings of the International Association of Time Use Research, held at the University of Essex, Colchester, England, October 6-8, 1999.