Time, Love, and Cash in Couples With Children Study (TLC3) [United States], 2000-2005 (ICPSR 22462)

Published: Jan 29, 2016

Principal Investigator(s):
Paula England, Stanford University; Kathryn Edin, Harvard University


Version V2

Time, Love, and Cash in Couples with Children (TLC3) consists of four waves of interviews with parents (married and nonmarried) who experienced a birth in the year 2000. Both mothers and fathers participated in semi-structured in-depth interviews individually and as a couple in each of the four waves. Interviewers were encouraged to probe and to be flexible with the order of the questions to foster a more conversational interaction. During the TLC3 interviews respondents were asked their views on parenthood, child-rearing responsibilities and expenditures, family structure and relationships, the amount of time spent with their child, their domestic responsibilities, and household income and expenditures. Questions also focused on the relationship between the parents. Respondents were asked how much time they spend together, what their thoughts were on the future of their relationship, and their general views on marriage, parenthood, and gender roles.

England, Paula, and Edin, Kathryn. Time, Love, and Cash in Couples With Children Study (TLC3) [United States], 2000-2005. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-01-29. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR22462.v2

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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Research Network on the Family and the Economy

National Science Foundation


This data collection may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting and analysis. Use of these data to learn the identity of any person or establishment is prohibited. To protect respondent privacy, all data files in this collection are restricted from general dissemination. To obtain these restricted files, researchers must agree to the terms and conditions of a Restricted Data Use Agreement.

2000 -- 2005

2000 -- 2005

Pseudonyms were used to protect the identities of all those who participated in this study.

Starting with a sample of 75 couples, participants were interviewed both individually and as couples. Over 4 waves of data collection, a total of 756 interviews were conducted. The sample is embedded in a large national probability sample: the FRAGILE FAMILIES AND CHILD WELLBEING STUDY (FFCWS) [ICPSR 0180]. Participants in TLC3 were chosen based on a stratified, random sampling scheme from three of the FFCWS cities: Chicago, New York, and Milwaukee. Nonmarital births were oversampled. TLC3 used one hospital in each of the three cities. In Chicago, the hospital served a largely poor, African American population, in New York the hospital served a mostly Hispanic clientele, and in Milwaukee the hospital catered to an economically and ethnically diverse population. In each city, FFCWS couples were only eligible to participate in the TLC3 study if they were romantically involved at the time of the birth, if the mother's household income did not exceed $75,000 (though most were much poorer), if both mother and father lived in an accessible geographic area (to be accessible to interviewers), if the father was not in jail, if the child was living with at least one of the biological parents, and if both parents spoke English. As in the FFCWS, TLC3 over-sampled unmarried couples. Married couples comprised approximately one third of the 75 couples in the TLC3 sample, and were included solely for comparison.

All participants in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS, which itself is a large national probability sample) who experienced the birth of a child during the time period from 2000-2005.


machine-readable text

face-to-face interview

The TLC3 interview team was able to maintain a relatively high response rate: the lowest for mothers' individual interviews is 81 percent (second wave), and the lowest for fathers' individual interviews is 77 percent (fourth wave). The lowest couple interview response rate is 61 percent (fourth wave). Since many couples who were no longer romantically involved by later interviews declined the invitation to be interviewed together, the lower response rate relative to the individual interviews is expected. For more detailed information on response rates and data on differences between missing and retained individuals, see page 284 in: Shafer, Emily Fitzgibbons. 2007. "Data from the TLC3." pp. 277-291 in Unmarried Couples with Children, edited by Paula England and Kathryn Edin. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.




2016-01-29 This study is being updated for internal archiving purposes. The name of the zipped qualitative data package has been revised, however the contents of the package have not been altered.

2008-09-11 Errors in the metadata have been corrected, additional information was provided by the principal investigator for RESPONSE.RATES, and clarifications were made in the SAMPLING and COLLECT.NOTES fields.


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This study was originally processed, archived, and disseminated by Data Sharing for Demographic Research (DSDR), a project funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).