Working Mothers and Child Care

In 2006, 70.9 percent of women with children under 18 years of age were in the labor force (employed or looking for work). Of mothers with children younger than 6 years, 63.5 percent were in the labor force and 59.7 percent were employed (the remainder were unemployed and looking for work). Of women with children aged 6–17 years, 76.7 percent were in the labor force and more than 73 percent were employed.

Employed mothers with children aged 6–17 years were more likely than women with younger children to be employed full-time (77.8 versus 72.2 percent). Married mothers with a spouse present were less likely than never-married, divorced, separated, and widowed mothers to be in the labor force (68.6 versus 76.6 percent); however, married mothers in the labor force were more likely to be employed than mothers of other marital statuses. The unemployment rate among married mothers was only 3.6 percent, compared to a rate of 8.5 percent among mothers of other marital statuses (data not shown).

In 2005, 40 percent of children under 6 years of age did not require nonparental child care, while 60 percent required at least one child care arrangement. Overall, 60 percent of children with at least one child care arrangement received center-based care, 22 percent received care from a nonrelative, and 35 percent received care from a relative other than a parent (data not shown). Among children who received child care, 56.9 percent of children aged 3–5 years received center-based care compared to 22.8 percent of children aged 1–2 and 11.8 percent of children less than 1 year of age.

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