Month / March 2023
Parental unemployment represents a major financial, social, and psychological burden for the entire family. In fact, it is remarkable how long and how strongly children are affected by unemployment. An analysis of study data shows that if, for example, the father of children between the ages of 6 and 9 is unemployed, they are 30 percent less likely to finish school later with a (technical) high school diploma. They are also less likely to graduate from university.
Despite the large time gap between primary school age and the last school-leaving certificate, the children’s educational path is strongly influenced by their parents’ unemployment. “It therefore stands to reason that the intergenerational consequences of unemployment are long-lasting, intensify over the years, and thus persist into adulthood,” says Prof. Dr. Felix Weinhardt from DIW Berlin, “Children must receive more support in order to avoid the long-term effects of parental unemployment.” Currently, however, children’s educational success still depends highly on their parental home.
Childcare, housework, and eldercare—all these domestic tasks are still done primarily by women. In Germany, women perform about one and a half times as much unpaid care work as men according to results of a recently published study based on data from “Living in Germany.”
Between the ages of 35 and 39, women take on more than twice as much care work as men—and that, in turn, affects their income. DIW researcher Clara Schäper, who worked on the study, says: “Although the amount of care work begins to level out somewhat around the age of 40, the gender care gap has long-term effects on income inequality.” In fact, women in Germany have 18 percent lower hourly wages than men.
Women spend more time on childcare in particular: Middle-aged women spend around four hours more per day looking after children than men. When it comes to housework, women spend around one hour more than men, but the difference increases with age. The amount of time spent caring for relatives increases with age, but remains significantly lower overall than time spent on housework and childcare.