Racial-ethnic stratification in work–family arrangements among Black, Hispanic, and white couples



This article builds on work–family scholarship to document racial-ethnic variation in couples’ work–family arrangements, that is, how couples respond to their work and family demands.


Existing research on the division of labor finds traditional gender norms continue to dictate how couples share paid and unpaid work in the United States. Yet, this narrative relies primarily on the structural conditions and cultural expectations of white and middle-class women. Black and Hispanic women and men face different labor market opportunities and hold different cultural expectations about gendered responsibilities in families.


The authors use the 2017–2019 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (https://psidonline.isr.umich.edu) and multi-group latent-class analysis to determine typical work–family arrangements for paid work, housework, and care work among U.S. different-sex racially homogamous Black, Hispanic, and white couples, as well as how the prevalence of these arrangements vary across race-ethnicity and life-course stage.


Black, Hispanic, and white couples respond to their work–family demands through one of six work–family arrangements depending on how partners spend time in adult care, childcare, housework, and paid work. Childcare and paid work emerge as stratifying mechanisms of how couples spend their time. Specifically, racial-ethnic differences in distribution across work–family arrangement are large and greatest when couples have young children.


This article provides support for a couple-level and life-course approach to explaining how couples spend their time in work and family domains across racial-ethnic lines.

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