The association between domestic division of labour and fertility preference is observed in all four countries, but increases in husbands’ housework participation are more consistently associated with wives’ preference for more children. Women rather than men bear the brunt of conflicts between the demands of domestic work and labour market work, and therefore their fertility preference is more strongly linked with the extent of their housework responsibilities.
The findings also indicate that East Asian countries are similar to conservative European countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Germany, which have the lowest low fertility in Europe. In these countries a traditional gender division of domestic labour is similarly associated with a lower fertility preference.The policy implications of this and similar research are obvious. If governments can help lower the burden of childcare (through subsidized childcare) while encouraging parental leave and other means by which women's childcare responsibilities are lessened, the birth rate is likely to bump up a bit closer to replacement level than it currently is.