Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. ES 3.1 Parental Labor Force Participation: Percentage of Children with Both Parents or Only Resident Parent in the Labor Force

01/01/2000

Over the last three decades, the proportion of single-parent families has increased, as has the proportion of mothers who work regardless of marital status.15 These factors have reduced the percentage of children who have a parent at home full-time. Figure ES 3.1.A presents data on the percentage of children who have at least one parent in the labor force by family structure, while Figure ES 3.1.B shows the percentage of children with no resident parent in the labor force.

Parents in the Labor Force by Family Structure. Between 1985 and 1998, the percentage of children who have both parents or only the resident parent in the labor force increased from 59 percent to 68 percent (see Table ES 3.1.A). Between 1990 and 1996, this percentage was similar for both married-couple families and single-mother families; however, the rate for single-mother families increased sharply from 66 percent in 1996 to 74 percent in 1998, while the rate for married-couple families was nearly unchanged (64 percent in 1996 and 65 percent in 1998). The rate for children in single-father families was much higher, at 91 percent in 1998. Between 1994 and 1998, there was a large and statistically significant decline in the proportion of children living in families in which no resident parent was attached to the labor force, as shown in Table ES 3.1.B.

Parents in the Labor Force by Age of Child. Children under age 6 have been less likely than older children to have both parents or only the resident parent in the labor force (see Table ES 3.1.A). In 1998, 62 percent of children under age 6 had both parents or only the resident parent in the labor force, compared with 71 percent for older children.

Parents in the Labor Force by Race and Hispanic Origin. Between 1985 and 1990, white children, black children, and Hispanic children all became more likely to have both parents or only the resident parent in the labor force (see Table ES 3.1.A). Between 1990 and 1996, the rates stayed virtually the same for blacks and Hispanics and increased modestly for whites. However, the rate for all three groups increased between 1996 and 1998, with especially large increases for blacks and Hispanics. Between 1996 and 1998, the rate for black children of all ages increased from 64 percent to 73 percent, and the rate for black children under age 6 increased from 58 percent to 71 percent. Between 1996 and 1998, the rate for Hispanic children of all ages increased from 50 percent to 58 percent. By 1998, 68 percent of white children, 73 percent of black children, and 58 percent of Hispanic children lived in families in which all resident parents were working.

Figure ES 3.1.A Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with both parents or only resident parent in the labor force, by family structure: Selected years, 1985-1998

Figure ES 3.1.A Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with both parents or only resident parent in the labor force, by family structure: Selected years, 1985-1998

Sources: 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 statistics calculated by Child Trends based on the March 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 Current Population Surveys; 1996, 1997, and 1998 statistics calculated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census based on the 1996, 1997, and 1998 Current Population Surveys.


Figure ES 3.1.B Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with no resident parent in the labor force, by family structure: Selected years, 1985-1998

Figure ES 3.1.B Percentage of children under age 18 in the United States with no resident parent in the labor force, by family structure: Selected years, 1985-1998

Sources: 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 statistics calculated by Child Trends based on analyses of the March 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 Current Population Surveys; 1996, 1997, and 1998 statistics calculated by U.S. Bureau of the Census based on the March 1996, 1997, and 1998 Current Population Surveys.

 


Table ES 3.1.A Percentage of children in the United States with both parents or only resident parent in the labor force, by age, family structure, and race and Hispanic origin:a Selected years, 1985-1998

  1985 1990 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
All children 59 63 64 65 66 68 68
     Under age 6 51 55 56 59 58 61 62
     Ages 6-17 63 67 68 69 70 71 71
Family structure
    Married-couple 57 61 63 65 64 65 65
         Under age 6 51 54 57 59 58 58 58
         Ages 6-17 61 65 67 68 67 69 68
    Single-mother 61 63 62 64 66 72 74
        Under age 6 49 51 52 54 56 65 67
        Ages 6-17 67 70 68 69 72 76 77
    Single-father 89 88 86 88 88 88 91
        Under age 6 90 90 85 86 86 89 94
        Ages 6-17 89 88 86 88 89 88 90
Race and Hispanic origina
    White 59 63 64 66 66 68 68
        Under age 6 51 55 57 59 58 61 61
        Ages 6-17 63 67 68 70 70 71 71
     Black 60 63 62 64 64 71 73
         Under age 6 54 55 56 57 58 68 71
         Ages 6-17 63 67 66 67 68 73 75
    Hispanic 45 50 49 50 50 54 58
         Under age 6 40 44 41 44 43 49 52
         Ages 6-17 48 54 54 54 55 57 62

a Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Estimates for whites and blacks include persons of Hispanic origin. Sources: 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 statistics calculated by Child Trends based on the March 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 Current Population Surveys; 1996, 1997, and 1998 statistics calculated by the U.S. Bureau of the Census based on the 1996, 1997, and 1998 Current Population Surveys.


Table ES 3.1.B Percentage of children in the United States with no resident parent in the labor force, by age, family structure, and race and Hispanic origin:a Selected years, 1985-1998

 

  1985 1990 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998
All children 11 10 12 11 11 9 8
    Under age 6 12 13 14 14 13 10 9
    Ages 6-17 10 9 11 10 9 8 8
Family structure
    Married-couple 3 2 3 3 2 2 2
        Under age 6 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
        Ages 6-17 3 3 3 3 3 2 2
    Single-mother 39 37 38 36 34 28 26
        Under age 6 51 49 48 46 44 35 33
        Ages 6-17 33 30 32 31 28 24 23
    Single-father 11 12 14 12 12 12 9
       Under age 6 10 10 15 14 14 11 6
       Ages 6-17 11 12 14 12 11 12 10
Race and Hispanic origina
    White 8 7 9 8 7 7 7
        Under age 6 8 9 11 10 9 7 7
        Ages 6-17 7 6 8 7 7 6 6
    Black 27 26 27 27 25 20 17
        Under age 6 33 34 33 33 32 23 20
        Ages 6-17 24 21 24 23 21 18 15
    Hispanic 19 17 19 19 17 14 13
        Under age 6 20 19 22 21 20 15 14
        Ages 6-17 19 16 18 17 15 12 13

a Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Estimates for whites and blacks include persons of Hispanic origin. Sources: 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 statistics calculated by Child Trends based on analyses of the March 1985, 1990, 1994, and 1995 Current Population Surveys; 1996, 1997, and 1998 statistics calculated by U.S. Bureau of the Census based on the March 1996, 1997, and 1998 Current Population Surveys.

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