By the Numbers: Happy Mother’s Day!



 

Fact: Seventy percent of mothers with kids under the age of 18 are in the labor force. We at the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau work every day to support all women in the workforce, and that certainly includes the hardworking mothers of our country. In celebration of Mother’s Day, here are some noteworthy facts about American mothers in the workplace:

  • Since 1977, more than 50 percent of mothers with children under age 18 have been in the labor force. And since 1986, more than half of mothers children under age three have been in the labor force .
  • In the last 40 years, the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under age three has nearly doubled, increasing from 34.3 percent in 1975 to 61.4 percent in 2015.
  • As of 2015, 3 out of 4 mothers with children between the ages of six and 17 were in the labor force, while 63.9 percent of mothers of children under age six were in the labor force.
  • Mothers provide at least half of the family’s income in 40.9 percent of households with children under age 18, up from 11.3 percent in 1960.
  • 1 in 4 households with children under 18 are led by a single mother who is the sole provider. And mothers are sole, primary or equal earners in an additional 16.3 percent of married-couple households with children under age 18.

Editor's note: text-only version of the graphic is below. 

As the data show, over the last half century, mothers are increasingly playing a central role as family economic providers. Since 1960, more mothers are in the labor force and serve as sole, primary or equal providers for their families. This Mother’s Day, join us in celebrating everything that mothers do, both at home and at work!

Find more resources and statistics on mothers and families on the Women’s Bureau website.

Liana Christin Landivar is a senior researcher for the department’s Women’s Bureau.

 

 

 

 

Labor force participation rate of mothers by age of youngest child, March 1975-2015

 
Year "Labor force participation rate of mothers (percent)"
Youngest child under age 18 Youngest child between ages 6 to 17 Youngest child under age 6 Youngest child under age 3

1975

47.4 54.9 39.0 34.3

1976

48.8 56.2 40.1 34.1

1977

50.8 58.3 41.2 35.4

1978

53.0 60.0 44.0 39.4

1979

54.5 61.6 45.7 41.1

1980

56.6 64.3 46.8 41.9

1981

58.1 65.5 48.9 44.3

1982

58.5 65.8 49.9 45.6

1983

58.9 66.3 50.5 46.0

1984

60.5 68.1 52.1 47.6

1985

62.1 69.9 53.5 49.5

1986

62.8 70.4 54.4 50.8

1987

64.7 72.0 56.7 52.9

1988

65.1 73.3 56.1 52.4

1989

65.7 74.2 56.7 52.4

1990

66.7 74.7 58.2 53.6

1991

66.6 74.4 58.4 54.5

1992

67.2 75.9 58.0 54.5

1993

66.9 75.4 57.9 53.9

1994

68.4 76.0 60.3 57.1

1995

69.7 76.4 62.3 58.7

1996

70.2 77.2 62.3 59.0

1997

72.1 78.1 65.0 61.8

1998

72.3 78.4 65.2 62.2

1999

72.1 78.5 64.4 60.7

2000

72.9 79.0 65.3 61.0

2001

72.7 79.4 64.4 60.7

2002

72.2 78.6 64.1 60.5

2003

71.7 78.7 62.9 58.7

2004

70.7 77.5 62.2 57.3

2005

70.5 76.9 62.6 58.9

2006

70.6 76.9 63.0 59.9

2007

71.3 77.7 63.5 60.1

2008

71.2 77.5 63.6 59.6

2009

71.6 78.2 63.6 61.1

2010

71.3 77.2 64.2 61.1

2011

70.9 76.5 64.2 60.9

2012

70.9 76.0 64.7 60.7

2013

70.3 74.8 64.7 62.1

2014

70.8 75.8 64.3 61.8

2015

69.9 74.6 63.9 61.4

 

Notes: Children are "own" children and include sons, daughters, step-children, or adopted children. Not included are nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other related and unrelated children. Labor force participation rate represents the percentage of persons in the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older that are employed or actively looking for work. The comparability of historical data has been affected at various times by methodological and other changes in the Current Population Survey.

Source: 1975-2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplements, Current Population Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

 


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With over 70% of our Mothers working to support their families and THE NATIONAL ECONOMY they should be receiving EQUAL PAY!!!!

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