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Goldman Sachs Is Right: Millennial Moms Still Run Households

On Monday, the research team at Goldman Sachs released a new report titled “Millennial Moms” that garnered significant interest throughout the financial world. Shane Ferro, writing at Business Insider, picked up on one quirky aspect of the report: When Goldman Sachs says “Millennial Moms,” they really mean “Millennial Parents.” In fact, the report says this explicitly:

Note — throughout this report, we make references to 'Millennial Moms,' a term we use interchangeably with Millennial parents.

As Ferro says, this is a bit strange. The report never uses the term “Millennial Dads,” after all. “This tells us Goldman is probably assuming that most parenting decisions are going to be taken by the mother,” Ferro writes. But aren’t millennials supposed to be the generation that splits housework and parenting responsibilities? Goldman has to be wrong, right?

Nope, Goldman is right.

A recent report from Young Invincibles looked at the Census’s American Time Use Survey to see how millennial mothers and fathers spend their time, and found that the "average pair of Millennial parents maintains a surprisingly ‘traditional’ division of paid work, childcare, and household maintenance.” For instance, millennial moms spend more than four hours a day on household maintenance and caring for household members. Millennial fathers spend about half that time on those duties.

Young Invincibles
Young Invincibles

Those figures are at odds with millennials' opinions of domestic equality. A 2011 Pew study found that 72 percent of millennials agreed that the “husband and wife both have jobs/both take care of the house and children,” compared with just 63 percent of Gen Xers and 59 percent of Baby Boomers who agreed with that statement. As Ferro writes, "The idea that the housewife makes most of the family's consumption decisions is several decades outdated."

To be fair, millennials are doing better on this issue than their predecessors did, as fathers are spending more time on household duties. But as the Young Invincibles analysis shows, the division of duties is still unequal. Goldman is just basing its recommendations on the academic evidence.