Share the housework, have more babies!

Wives trapped between the demands of work and family are more likely to have children if their husbands share the housework, a government survey has found.

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A full-time working wife whose partner does a third or more of the domestic chores is 80% more likely to give birth to a first child than one who does everything herself, it found. If the husband shares childcare the chances of a second baby rises by 50%.

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The study, funded by the Government’s Economic and Social Research Council, said that families where the husband works full-time and the wife stays at home full-time are nearly 50% more likely than working couples to have two children.

Working women are more likely to limit their family to one child, but surveys show seven out of 10 working mothers would like to give up their jobs.

The researchers called for more family-friendly policies from the Government.

Pia Schober, of the London School of Economics, said: “Britain faces the challenge of developing new family arrangements. This is crucial to avoiding low fertility especially among highly-educated women, while ensuring the high female labour market participation required for welfare state sustainability. There is a need for policies that allow traditional choices as well as modern alternatives to how families can combine earning and caring.”

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Campaigners have called for reforms that would allow a mother to transfer her income tax allowance to her husband while she brings up the children.

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