Volume 43 - Article 36 | Pages 1067–1080  

The gender gap in the United States: Housework across racialized groups

By Kamila Kolpashnikova, Man-Yee Kan


Background: Most resource-based theoretical frameworks in housework research are tested and further developed based on ‘average’ patterns. Consequently, in countries like the United States these frameworks rely heavily on the patterns among white women in relation to white men. As such, the resource-based factors identified by the frameworks may work to estimate the housework division of white Americans rather than any other groups, particularly racialized women and men.

Objective: We test the extent to which resource-based factors such as time availability and income can account for the gender gap in housework participation among white, Black, and Latinx women and men in the United States.

Methods: Using the Kitagawa‒Oaxaca‒Blinder decomposition method, we analyze time-use diaries from the 2003–2018 American Time Use Survey.

Results: We find that resource-based factors account for the gender gap in housework participation only when there are substantial resource differences between the contrasted groups, the exception being when the comparison is made with Black Americans. The results also show that when any group of women is compared with Black men, resource-based factors have little explanatory power in the intergroup time gap in housework participation.

Conclusions: The findings imply that housework research may need to pay special attention to the diverse effects of gendering and racialization on the division of housework to avoid normalizing the theoretical frameworks that only work for the dominant white groups.

Contribution: This study uses group-level decomposition analysis to compare how resource-based factors apply to the gender gap across racialized groups in the United States.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Housework share and fertility preference in four East Asian countries in 2006 and 2012
Volume 41 - Article 35

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

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

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Are highly educated partners really more gender egalitarian? A couple-level analysis of social class differentials in attitudes and behaviors
Volume 50 - Article 34    | Keywords: attitudes, couple analysis, education, educational level, gender, gender roles, housework, social class differentials

Housework time and task segregation: Revisiting gender inequality among parents in 15 European countries
Volume 50 - Article 19    | Keywords: cross-national comparison, gender, housework

Racial classification as a multistate process
Volume 50 - Article 17    | Keywords: Brazil, demography, increments to life, life expectancy, life table, mortality, multistate, race/ethnicity

Black–white intermarriage in global perspective
Volume 49 - Article 28    | Keywords: endogamy, ethnicity, intermarriage, modernization, race/ethnicity

The COVID-19 pandemic’s unequal socioeconomic impacts on minority groups in the United States
Volume 47 - Article 33    | Keywords: access to mental health services, COVID-19, employment income loss, food shortage, housing insecurity, race/ethnicity