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Summer 2007
Vol. 51, Number 2
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Parents and work, 2006

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Most parents work when they have young children, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But not all parents do.

The charts show the number of women and men in 2006 who worked—or didn’t work—when their children were under 6 years of age and living with them. Women were much less likely than men to work if they had infants or toddlers at home. And about 28 percent of employed women worked part-time during their children’s early years. Although not shown on the chart, the number of dads who didn’t work was slightly higher if they had older children.

Of parents who were not employed, most were not seeking work. But some were actively looking for jobs and were thus counted as unemployed.

For many parents, how long they remain in the labor force while their children are young depends on whether they have flexible work schedules. To learn about arranging for flexible work, see "Flexible work: Adjusting the when and where of your job," by Elka Maria Torpey, elsewhere in this issue of the Quarterly.

Data in the chart come from the Current Population Survey. For more information about parents and work, write to BLS, Division of Labor Force Statistics, Suite 4675, 2 Massachusetts Avenue NE., Washington, D.C. 20212; call (202) 691-6378; or see the BLS news release online at

Employment status of men and women who have children under 6 years of age, 2006

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: September 21, 2007