It is well documented that co-residence with senior parents increases the likelihood that married women join the labour force in East Asian countries, such as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Parents help their married daughters or daughters-in-law with family responsibilities, allowing them to work for pay. Extending this established hypothesis of parental living arrangement, I argue that parents living separate but near, as well as together, have similar positive implications for married women’s employment. I test this argument using the case of Korea. Analysing a Korean national representative sample of married couples, I find that married women receive manual help often from their parents living separate but near and so are more likely to work for pay. By living in the same neighbourhood, the two generations keep their privacy and still exchange their support with each other. The literature on married women’s employment and inter-generational support in East Asian countries should consider the distances of the households of the two generations, even though they live separate.
Some wives and husbands maintain separate residences. This form of couple is understood as a major transition in the gender arrangement of work and family. Using a sample of “weekend couples,” where Korean wives and husbands live separately, this study (1) compared weekend and typical couples in time spent on housework, and (2) examined whether time on housework is associated with life satisfaction in weekend and typical couples. I found that, while women in weekend couples spend much less time on household chores compared to women in typical couples, men in weekend couples assign more time to housework compared to their counterparts. Additionally, I found that, for women in both weekend and typical couples, more household tasks are related to lower levels of general satisfaction. The results suggest that maintaining separate residences may balance time use patterns between two partners, which could have important implications for the subjective well-being of weekend couples.
In Korea, some dual-earner married couples, where both husbands and wives have careers, live separately because their workplaces are located too far for a daily commute. These “commuter couples” are on the rise all over the world. In general, physical closeness is important for the quality of the relationships; thus, marital satisfaction is one of the most important issues in the literature on commuter couples. While some studies found a lower quality of relationships among commuter couples, others found cohesive and trustful relationships in these couples. However, the existing studies were conducted mainly with convenience samples of specific occupational groups in developed countries. Using a recent representative sample of commuter couples in Korea, this study found that commuter couples report lower levels of marital satisfaction compared to typical dual-earner couples. Additionally, this study found that in commuter couples, wives feel less marital satisfaction compared to their husbands.