Teleworking husbands do more chores, child-rearing than before, annual report shows

Housework and child-rearing increased more for husbands who telework compared to those who go to the office, according to the 2022 Annual Report on the Declining Birthrate approved Tuesday at a Cabinet meeting.

The report presents the results of a survey on how the division of roles between husband and wife in household chores and child-rearing changed before and after the COVID-19 outbreak. The spread of telework helped households review their sharing of housework, according to an analysis in the report.

The survey was conducted online between April and May last year on 2,065 parents of children under 18.

When asked about changes in housework and child-rearing from pre-pandemic December 2019 to the time of the survey, 36.8% of households with teleworking husbands responded that the husband’s roles somewhat or greatly increased. For households with husbands who commute to work, the percentage was 15.8%.

According to the report, husbands who spend a lengthy amount of time on days off doing housework and raising children are more likely to have two or more children. The report deems teleworking effective in combatting the declining birthrate and called for the continuation of the system after the pandemic.

When asked about the amount of time spent on housework and child-rearing compared to before the pandemic, 8.7% of women said that time had increased significantly, compared to 3.9% of men. The report thus also pointed out that the burden of housework and child-rearing becomes heavier for women as the amount of time spent at home increases.

The Cabinet also approved the 2022 White Paper on Children and Young People the same day. According to a survey, a record 2,174 cases of child abuse were investigated by police in 2021. The white paper warned that the pandemic meant there were fewer opportunities for communities to watch over children, increasing the risk of child abuse.