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Keywords:

  • child care;
  • family structure;
  • living arrangements;
  • parental investment/involvement;
  • single-parent families;
  • time use

Utilizing the 2003 and 2004 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this study examines the relationship between family structure and maternal time with children among 4,309 married mothers and 1,821 single mothers with children less than 13 years of age. Single mothers spend less time with their children than married mothers, though the differences are not large. Marital status and living arrangement differences in time with children largely disappear or single mothers engage in more child care than married mothers after controls for socioeconomic status and other characteristics are introduced. Thus, less maternal time with children appears to be mainly attributable to the disadvantaged social structural location of single mothers rather than different proclivities toward mothering between married and single mothers.