Single Earner (Married Couple)/Dual Earner Interviews
A written report
Interview two two-parent families – one that chooses to have one parent in the labor market and one that chooses to have two. If possible, talk with families that have at least one child under age 6. If you do not know any families in that life stage, you can either interview someone with older children or you can interview someone whose children are grown and ask about decisions that they made when their children were young.
Part I: Bring draft of answers to these questions (a through g) from interviews with both families :
a. What values influenced their decision to have one or two earners?
b. How did they become a single or dual earner family? Was it a plan made ahead of time? Or, did the choice “just evolve” as life happened? Or, did it happen some other way?
c. How has the decision affected their lifestyle? What has it made easier? What has it made harder?
d. What do they like best about this arrangement? What do they like least? In general, how satisfied or dissatisfied are they with their current arrangement? What do they wish could be different? Why?
e. Ask families how much income they think it takes to “make it” in today’s economy. Do they think their current income level is tight, just about even, comfortable, or very comfortable? What do they think of the comment that it takes two incomes for families to “make it” these days?
f. – Ask dual earner couples how comfortable they are with their childcare arrangements. Have they been relatively easy or difficult to get in place? What happens when someone (a caregiver, a child) is sick?
– Ask single earner couples what they think their child gains or loses from not attending day care or preschool. If their child(ren) attend a play group, preschool or other regular peer group activity, ask the parents what they hoped their family would gain from that arrangement (e.g. some parents of only children want their child to learn to share and play with others, other parents like the option of a little “child free” time to run errands or do work at home).
g. How do they divide up the work at home? Who does most of the caregiving, meal preparation, household cleaning, yard work and other home maintenance tasks? How did they decide who does what?
Part II: Report – submit to Canvas by 11:59pm Sunday March 5
The report has two parts.
First, in 3 pages report what you learned from your interviews. Compare and contrast the answers you obtained from the persons you interviewed as they answered questions a through g. What you learn from each side? What is similar? What is different? What do you think explains the similarity and difference?
You may structure this part of your report as a set of questions and answers or as an essay. Regardless of format that you use, be sure your comparisons between the two types of family structures are specific and clear. Include examples to illustrate your points where possible and applicable.
Second, after discussing your interview results, write an additional paragraph or two that draws on data provided for you and data that you locate to analyze national trends in family employment and compares your interview results with these national trends. (See Census Data section in upload ).
a. Look at Table 598 Employment Status of Women by Marital Status and Presence and Age of Children 1970 to 2009. Obtain some updated statistics as well. Identify three significant changes that have occurred for women’s employment between 1970 and recent years. Speculate about reasons why these changes occurred.
b. Look at Table 600 Labor Force Participation Rates for Wives, Husband Present, by Age of Own Youngest Child 1990-2009 Obtain some updated statistics as well. Identify two similarities and two differences relative to the employment status of married parents 1990 to recent years. Speculate about reasons why these changes occurred.
c. Look at Table 688 Annual Expenditure per Child by Husband-Wife Families by Family Income and Expenditure Type. Identify 3 things that surprised you and tell why they were surprising.
d. Look at data on Child Care Arrangements (there are several sources posted). Identify 3 noteworthy national statistics. In what ways are your interviewees similar to national trends? In what ways are they different?