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The Future of Family Demography: Filling in the Fourth Cell

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The Demography of Transforming Families

Part of the book series: The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis ((PSDE,volume 56))

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Gender has always been central to the study of family demography, although it often wasn’t noticed. This is because demography came of age in a gender-segregated world. Most men spent their productive hours in the world of paid emploment; most women spent their productive hours in the world of the family. Hence, the study of what we think of as family demography was largely the study of women’s lives until well into the 1960s, with a focus on fertility. Many articles on family processes did not even mention in their titles that their studies were of women.

In this paper, I briefly review the history of family demography in gendered terms. I illustrate how the genders relate to family tasks vs. paid employment with a simple two-by-two table—paid work and home (unpaid) work as column headings, with men and men as the rows, hence with four cells. Almost all the activity in the 1950s was on the diagonal—men only in paid employment, women only doing home (unpaid) work.

The diagonal structure began to break down with the growth in female labor force participation. This led to a new view of the two-by-two table as it began to fill in the third cell—women, work and family. The fourth cell, men, work, and family, remained invisible. What I conclude is that what is needed is to understand more fully the fourth cell—the work-family demography of men.

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Correspondence to Frances Goldscheider .

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Goldscheider, F. (2023). The Future of Family Demography: Filling in the Fourth Cell. In: Schoen, R. (eds) The Demography of Transforming Families. The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis, vol 56. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-29665-9

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