Time to do the housework, or help the kids with the homework?

The amount of time Britons spend on housework is falling sharply, with survey results from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) demonstrating that the amount of time spent doing household chores has fallen by an average of 30 minutes since the turn of the millennium. An exhaustive study conducted by the ONS asked a representative sample of over 5,000 adults to record what they did for every minute of their waking lives, and found that adults spent an average of 142 minutes per day on housework in 2005, compared with 172 minutes in 2000.

Evidence suggests that we are choosing to down the Marigolds in favour of spending more time socializing with our friends or spending that extra quality time with our children. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, women spent an average of 3 hours doing housework each day, and men just one hour 41 minutes, a decline of 21% for men and 16% for women compared with 2000. Further ammunition for disgruntled wives comes from results showing that men have 30 minutes more free time on average a day than women, though women are found to spend an extra 20 minutes in bed each day.

So, are we Britons becoming more slovenly? There has been some suggestion that, rather than becoming less clean and tidy as a nation, we are instead becoming increasingly reliant on labour-saving devices and hired help to up our socializing time.