March 1998 Survey


1,200 Ohio citizens were mailed a 24-page survey during the first week of March in 1998. By May, 535 responses had been received. After taking into account the 30 surveys that were delivered to respondents who had moved, the survey achieved an effective response rate of 46%.


Of the 535 responses, just over half (52%) were received from men, and 93% of responses were from whites. The average age of Ohio's working parents was 41 years old. 48% of Ohio respondents had finished at least two years of college, and 84% were married (in which the average age of the spouse was 40 years old). 90% of respondents had a dependent child living with them, with the average age of the youngest child being 8 years old. Average family income was $60,254 per year.


83% of respondents to the survey were employed for an average of 42 hours per week; 16% worked at more than one job. The typical respondent had worked for their employer for almost ten years, and had an average annual income of $38,602. Most people were happy with the work they do, with 76% saying that it was "somewhat…" or "very unlikely" that they would look for a new job in the next year. Among married respondents, 76% had an employed spouse working an average of 40 hours per week, and making an average of $37,031 per year.

Child Care and Household Tasks

Given that the average age of the youngest child was 8 years old (see above), it is not surprising that 3/4 of respondents reported that their children were in school while they were working. Thus, losing time from work because of a breakdown in child-care arrangements was infrequent, and satisfaction with the child-care arrangement was high. Moreover, nearly 2/3 of respondents paid nothing for the care of their children. Men and women were responsible for different tasks within the home. For example, women performed the daily chores around the home, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, child care and shopping. Men, however, took responsibility for trash disposal, yard work, and home and auto maintenance. Paying bills was the only task that was evenly divided between spouses. Despite these numbers, 94% of respondents were either "very…" or "somewhat satisfied" with their spouses.

Work and Family Conflict

Ohio parents admitted some difficulty in balancing the demands of work and family life. Over 86 percent of respondents wished that they could spend "much more" or "a little more" time with their families. 38% percent of respondents reported they had missed a holiday, and 40 percent missed a child's school play or ballgame because of work obligations. Somehow, Ohio's families were finding a way to cope. Over 80% of respondents said they were successful at work, and a similar number reported being successful in their family lives. Even so, nearly 1/4 of respondents said it was "hard" to manage their work and family obligations.

"Family-friendly Employers"

Provision of family-friendly benefits among Ohio's employers was inconsistent. For example, 83% had health insurance coverage, 80% had a paid vacation, 73% could take time off from work to care for a sick family member, 71% received sick leave, and 66% were offered maternity/paternity leave. On the other hand, only 52% were offered flexible hours on their job, and less than a third could either share a job with a worker or move from full- to part-time employment. Less than ten percent had child-care at the work site or received assistance with child-care expenses. While 84% said their supervisor would "…allow [them] to take time away from work to attend family business," 47% said their "career would suffer if [they] took time away from work to spend more time with [their families].


Steve Carlton-Ford
Department of Sociology
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210378
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0378
Phone: (513) 556-4716
Fax: (513) 556-0057