Employment models in couple households

In addition to the domestic and family workload, in couple households employment is also unequally divided; this is particularly true for family households. Often the woman reduces her working hours or gives up (temporarily) her job completely when children live in the household. The most common employment model in family households is that of a full-time employed father and a part-time employed mother.

As the children grow older, a decline is seen in the number of households with mothers who are economically inactive and an increase in households with mothers with a higher worktime percentage (part-time at 50-89% or full-time). Only few couple households choose a model in which both partners work part-time, this model is most common in families where the youngest child is aged under 7. In a small share of couple households the man does not work or works part-time (1-89%) and the woman works full-time. This is more common when no children live in the household.

Since 2010, the share of family households with the male partner in full-time employment and the female partner economically inactive declined in favour of the models with a more equal share of paid work like both partners working full-time or both working part-time. Couples with a youngest child under 13 in which both partners work part-time remain a minority, although their share has more than doubled.

Clear regional differences can be observed. In the French-speaking cantons, for example, the model of two full-time working parents is more common than in the German-speaking cantons.

Further information



Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel



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