The distribution of household chores and childcare has become more even.

Women still do most of the housework

Even though the division of labour has become more even, there is a difference in the tasks men and women do.

In an analysis done by Statistics Norway in 2023 (link in Norwegian), the researchers write that there are still clear differences between men and women in terms of which tasks they have at home.

Men are more often responsible for maintenance, while women are more often responsible for more traditional housework tasks like laundry.

The numbers showed that 64 per cent of all couples say that the woman in the relationship usually or always does the laundry. At the same time, 74 per cent of all couples answered that it is usually or always the man who is responsible for maintenance of the home.

The numbers in the Statistics Norway analysis are from 2020, but in a report from 2023, researchers at the Institute for Social Research write that they cannot see that there have been any major changes since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

A natural change

Ragni Hege Kitterød is a researcher at the Institute for Social Research. She has researched the development of the division of labour in the home.

“There have been significant changes in the daily lives of families with children over the last decades. Mothers spend much more time in the workforce, and far more children attend daycare. As a result, it has become more common for men to contribute more at home, both in housework and childcare,” she says.

Because women have entered the workforce, the work must be distributed so that daily life is manageable. Kitterød has also found that Norwegians are positive towards an equal distribution.

“We see that the support for an egalitarian family model has increased in the population, among both women and men. In surveys, for example, far more people than before say that they prefer a family model where the parties have equally demanding jobs and share equally in domestic and caregiving duties,” she says.

A step towards equality in caregiving

In the survey, Statistics Norway also found that most women and men with children divide the caregiving responsibility equally.

However, in couples where this is not equally distributed, it is the woman who does the most.

“Most data sources show that men become involved in childcare before taking on domestic chores. Both in Norway and other countries, there has been a discussion about the new role of fathers. Since the early 1990s, Norway has implemented a paternity leave quota, likely influencing societal perceptions of fathers' involvement in childcare,” the researcher explains.

Kitterød also says that the Norwegian family policy has made it easier for families to share the responsibility.

“Family policies play a crucial role in shaping how parents manage and divide their professional and domestic responsibilities. For instance, accessible childcare services and a generous parental leave policy, with a portion specifically reserved for fathers, simplify the balancing act of parenting and professional life for both mothers and fathers,” she says.

“When both the mother and father take parental leave, both parties gain experience with being responsible for the children alone.”

Differences in working life

Even though women have less time for housework and spend more time in the workforce, there are still differences in how much women and men work.

“Men, on average, dedicate more time to their careers compared to women. This is partly due to the fact that men and women often have different occupations. Women also still work part-time more often than men,” says Kitterød.

Couples who are equal are more satisfied

In the survey, researchers from Statistics Norway found that couples who are equal are more satisfied than couples who have an uneven distribution of household tasks.

The researchers also found that both women and men overestimate their contribution. This is also true for those who are satisfied with the division of labour.

Although couples may agree on the allocation of specific tasks, they often have differing views on the extent of their own and their partner's contributions.

This is particularly true for childcare, according to the Statistics Norway analysis. Many report doing more in this area than their partner acknowledges.


Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik

Read the Norwegian version of this article on


Statistics Norway: Arbeidsdeling i hjemmet: Er likestilte par mer fornøyde? (Division of labour at home: Are equal couples more satisfied?), 2023.

Institute for Social Research: Likestilling hjemme og på jobb før og etter koronapandemien (Gender equality at home and at work before and after the Covid-19 pandemic)

Powered by Labrador CMS