Edition 2023

Foto omschrijving: A toddler wearing her jacket is waiting in a kitchen with two caregivers.

How do fathers and mothers divide work and care?

In nearly half of couples with children under 18, fathers work more hours than mothers. Mothers take on a larger share of childcare. One quarter of couples say they share childcare equally, but that fathers works more hours.

Hoe verdelen vaders en moeders werk en zorg? How do fathers and mothers divide work and care? AndersOther Werk gelijk, zorg gelijkWork equally, care equally Man meer werk, zorg gelijkMan works more, care equally 26% Man meer werk, vrouw meer zorgMan works more, woman more care48% Werk gelijk, vrouw meer zorgWork equally, woman more care 5% 9% 12%

Ideally, fathers and mothers would like to share childcare equally. More men than women think women are more suited to bringing up small children than men. One third of men and women (aged 16 years and older) think it is good for babies to attend a nursery for a few days a week. This proportion grows for older children: three-quarters think that a few days of nursery a week is good for toddlers.

Majority think mothers of young children should work three days at most

After the birth of their first baby, 45 percent of mothers work fewer hours or stop working altogether. Half the population (16 years or older) think that mothers of under-4s should work for two or three days a week. Nearly 20 percent say they would prefer mothers not to work at all. Few people think mothers of primary-school children should not work. They see four days a week as more suitable for these mothers than for mothers of babies and toddlers.

How many days per week should parents work? (% of persons aged 16 yrs and over)
Leeftijd kind Ouder None 1 day 2 days 3 days 4 days 5 days
Child aged 0 to 3 yrs Mother, Child aged 0 to 3 yrs 19 14 24 26 14 3
Child aged 0 to 3 yrs Father, Child aged 0 to 3 yrs 3 3 9 20 39 26
Child aged 4 to 12 yrs Mother, Child aged 4 to 12 yrs 2 9 22 33 26 7
Child aged 4 to 12 yrs Father, Child aged 4 to 12 yrs 1 1 5 16 42 36
No child under 13 Mother, No child under 13 1 1 4 16 39 39
No child under 13 Father, No child under 13 1 1 2 5 33 59

Many fathers continue full-time work

Hardly any fathers change their working hours after the birth of their first baby. Most of them continue to work full-time (35 hours a week or more), although most do take paternity leave. A majority of the population think that fathers of children up to 13 years of age should work four or five days a week. For fathers of children under four most people think four days’ work a week is best. Once all children have reached the age of 13, and for childless couples, most people think men and women should work at least four days a week.


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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik, Janneke Hendriks, Richard Jollie

With thanks to Hendrik Zuidhoek


Annelie Hakkenes (final editing)

Elma Wobma (general project leader)

Erik van den Berg

Gert Jan Wijma

Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

Paul de Winden

Saskia Stavenuiter

Sidney Vergouw


Gabriëlle de Vet, Lieneke Hoeksma, Frans Dinnissen


Ronald van der Bie

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition.