Time Alone or Together? Trends and Trade-offs Among Dual-Earner Couples, Sweden 1990–2010

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In recent decades, the dual-earner couple has become increasingly normative, potentially reducing the time couples and families spend together. The authors investigated how coupled individuals allocated time together, alone, with children, and as a family, exploring changes between 1990 and 2010 in Sweden using three waves of the Swedish Time Use Survey (N = 9,544). Ordinary least squares and decomposition analyses find a trend toward time together over time alone, with childless couples spending similar time together and parents increasing family time. The shift toward family time evolved differently for men and women, indicating gender convergence in private and public spheres, but at higher costs of time alone for women. Change is behavioral and general, applying quite equally across gender and educational groups. There are educational gradients concerning time with children and certain qualitative aspects of time together, indicating that dual-earner society may be family friendly, but not equally for all.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • gender, interaction, parenthood, time diary methods, time use
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80–98
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
Early online date2017 May 19
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

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