Time to Care: A Comparison of How Couple and Sole Parent Households Allocate Time to Work and Children

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Abstract
Households provide their members with both financial support and caring services. In sole parent households, the vast majority of which are headed by women, the functions of earning money and caring for children fall to one individual. The risk that sole mothers may fail to perform either or both of these functions adequately has made these women and their children a subject of social concern and policy interest. The financial consequences of sole motherhood have been extensively studied both in Australia and cross nationally. The other area of concern, that the children of sole mothers are disadvantaged in terms of parental attention, has not been systematically investigated. To begin addressing this research gap, this paper analyses the Australian Bureau of Statistics Time Use Survey 1997 (over 4000 randomly selected households) to establish whether, in Australia, the time sole mothers spend with their children differs in either quality or quantity from that of mothers, and/or fathers, in couple families. The related issue of whether sole mothers suffer more time pressure or time constraint than partnered mothers is also addressed.
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Craig, Lyn
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2004
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Working Paper
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