Volume 41 - Article 35 | Pages 1021–1046  

Housework share and fertility preference in four East Asian countries in 2006 and 2012

By Man-Yee Kan, Ekaterina Hertog, Kamila Kolpashnikova

This article is part of the Special Collection 25 "Domestic division of labour and fertility choice in East Asia"


Background: Previous research suggested that husbands’ participation in housework is positively associated with fertility choices for both women and men. We tested this association by using data of four East Asian countries.

Objective: This paper examines whether the positive association between gender-equal sharing of housework participation and fertility intention in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan has strengthened between 2006 and 2012.

Methods: We harmonize two datasets, the 2006 East Asian Social Survey and the 2012 International Social Survey Programme. We employ OLS and ordered logit models estimators to test the association between husband’s housework participation and the ideal number of children.

Results: In both 2006 and 2012, husband’s participation in housework is associated with both own and partner’s fertility intentions in 2006 and 2012. The association between the domestic division of labour and fertility has not changed between 2006 and 2012.

Conclusions: Corroborating the findings of our earlier paper the results suggest that a more gender-equal domestic division of labour in East Asia is associated with higher fertility intentions in this region. The gender revolution framework offers a plausible explanation for the East Asian fertility trends between 2006 and 2012. The findings suggest that there is a stall in the pace of the gender revolution.

Contribution: This paper provides a summary of the trends highlighted by the contributors to this special issue. This is also the first paper to look at the evolution of domestic division of labour and fertility preferences in four East Asian countries over time.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

The gender gap in the United States: Housework across racialized groups
Volume 43 - Article 36

Domestic division of labour and fertility preference in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan
Volume 36 - Article 18

Singlehood in contemporary Japan: Rating, dating, and waiting for a good match
Volume 44 - Article 10

Japanese adolescents' time use: The role of household income and parental education
Volume 44 - Article 9

A new family equilibrium? Changing dynamics between the gender division of labor and fertility in Great Britain, 1991–2017
Volume 40 - Article 50

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