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Employed parents of children under 13 spent more time providing secondary childcare in 2020

February 28, 2022

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, mothers who were not employed spent an average of 3.1 hours per day providing primary childcare. This is childcare provided as a person’s main activity, such as physical care of children or reading to children. This was more than the time spent by fathers who were not employed (1.5 hours), mothers who were employed (1.8 hours), and fathers who were employed (1.1 hours). Regardless of employment status, there was little change from 2019 to 2020 in the time mothers and fathers spent providing primary childcare.

Average hours per day spent providing primary childcare, mothers and fathers of children under age 13, May to December, 2019 and 2020
Year Employed fathers Employed mothers Not employed fathers Not employed mothers

2019

1.14 1.74 1.49 2.82

2020

1.11 1.83 1.51 3.05

Mothers who were employed spent 7.3 hours per day during the pandemic in 2020 providing secondary childcare. Secondary childcare is when parents had at least one child under age 13 in their care while doing activities other than primary childcare. This was up by 1.5 hours per day from 2019. Employed fathers spent about 1 hour more per day providing secondary childcare in 2020 than in 2019. Mothers and fathers who were not employed spent more time providing secondary childcare than those who were employed. Mothers who were not employed spent 8.7 hours per day providing secondary childcare, and fathers who were not employed spent 8.3 hours in 2020. Both figures are essentially unchanged from 2019.

Average hours per day spent providing secondary childcare, mothers and fathers of children under age 13, May to December, 2019 and 2020
Year Employed fathers Employed mothers Not employed fathers Not employed mothers

2019

4.29 5.78 8.29 8.76

2020

5.24 7.25 8.32 8.66

These data are from the American Time Use Survey. For more information, see “American Time Use Survey — May to December 2019 and 2020 Results.”

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employed parents of children under 13 spent more time providing secondary childcare in 2020 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/employed-parents-of-children-under-13-spent-more-time-providing-secondary-childcare-in-2020.htm (visited November 29, 2022).

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