Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2005 . Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 8. Labor Force Participation of Women with Children Under 18

08/30/2005

Figure WORK 8. Labor Force Participation of Women with Children under 18: 1975-2003

Figure WORK 8. Labor Force Participation of Women with Children under 18: 1975-2003

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1976-2004.

  • Since 1996, the labor force participation rate of never-married women has increased dramatically from 61 percent to 73 percent. Beginning in 1998 the participation rate for never-married mothers exceeded the rate for married mothers. The employment to population ratio indicates a similarly steep rise in the number of never-married employed mothers from 49 percent in 1996 to 63 percent in 2003, as shown in Table WORK 8.
  • Historically, mothers who are divorced, separated or widowed have always had the highest rates of labor force participation. The gap between them and married mothers, however, had narrowed considerably by 1994, before widening again over the next decade. In 2001, the labor force participation rate of divorced, separated or widowed mothers reached a peak of 83 percent.
  • The labor force participation rate of married women with children under 18 followed an upward trend until 1997 when it peaked at 71 percent. Since then it has edged downward slowly to 69 percent in 2003.
 
Labor Force Participation Rate
(percent of population)
Employment/Population Ratio
  Married, Spouse Present Divorced, Separated or Widowed Never-Married Married, Spouse Present Divorced, Separated or Widowed Never-Married
1975 44.9 62.8 42.2 40.5 54.9 32.1
1976 46.1 64.3 46.2 42.4 56.9 36.3
1977 48.2 66.4 43.4 44.6 58.7 29.6
1978 50.2 68.1 51.1 47.0 61.2 38.9
1979 51.9 67.8 54.4 48.6 61.4 42.6
1980 54.1 69.9 52.0 50.9 63.4 39.9
1981 55.7 70.5 52.3 52.1 63.0 38.3
1982 56.3 71.1 50.4 51.6 62.3 36.2
1983 57.2 70.1 49.8 52.4 58.5 34.5
1984 58.8 72.7 50.7 54.9 63.4 36.3
1985 60.8 72.9 51.6 56.8 64.0 39.3
1986 61.3 74.1 52.9 57.6 66.3 37.8
1987 63.8 74.0 54.1 60.4 66.5 40.2
1988 65.0 72.8 51.6 61.9 66.9 40.0
1989 65.6 72.0 54.7 63.1 66.0 43.1
1990 66.3 74.2 55.3 63.5 67.9 45.1
1991 66.8 72.7 53.6 63.2 66.1 44.0
1992 67.8 73.2 52.5 63.9 65.3 43.4
1993 67.5 72.1 54.4 64.2 65.9 44.0
1994 69.0 73.1 56.9 65.6 65.9 45.8
1995 70.2 75.3 57.5 67.1 69.1 47.9
1996 70.0 77.0 60.5 67.6 72.1 49.3
1997 71.1 79.1 68.1 68.6 72.0 56.6
1998 70.6 79.7 72.5 68.0 74.3 74.3
1999 70.1 80.4 73.4 68.0 75.4 64.8
2000 70.6 82.7 73.9 68.5 78.5 65.8
2001 70.4 83.1 73.5 68.0 78.7 64.6
2002 69.6 82.1 75.3 66.7 75.6 65.8
2003 69.2 82.0 73.1 66.3 74.7 63.2

Notes: The Labor Force Participation Rate includes all women who are employed, laid off or unemployed but looking for work. The Employment/Population Ratio includes only those women who are employed. The population of mothers with children under age 18 includes those 16 years of age and older.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1976-2004.

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