Has educational inequality in time investments in young children increased over time? (1961-2011)
Published: Jun 2015

This study indicates a clear and growing inequality in parental time investments in young children over the last five decades. Based on an analysis of more than 60 surveys in the Multinational Time Use Study, the results show a substantial increase in parents' total time spent in primary care activities over the 50-year period. However, this increase conceals growing polarization between social class backgrounds. Compared to parents with low educational attainment, highly educated parents increased their time investment at a faster rate, resulting in a wider education-gap in the late 2000s than in the 1970s. Inequality in mothers' time investment in children remained stable between the 1970s and the early1990s, but widened in the last 15 years. Inequality in fathers' time investments, on the other hand, has grown steadily since the 1960s. Overall, the results suggest that a child born in the 2000s to high-educated parents can expect to receive approximately 1,500 more hours of time investment over the first 4 years of life than a child born to low-educated parents. This gap is more than twice as large as it was in the 1970s.

Keywords: Childcare Education Inequality Time use


  • Evrim Altintas
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