Unemployment of parents with children under 18

July 15, 2003

In 2002, as in 2001, the average annual unemployment rate for parents of children under 18 was lower for married persons (spouse present) than for persons of other marital status.

Unemployment rate, parents with children under 18, by sex and marital status, 2002 annual averages
[Chart data—TXT]

In 2002, the jobless rate for married mothers with children under 18 was 4.1 percent. The unemployment rate for unmarried mothers—those who were single, widowed, divorced, or separated—was 9.5 percent.

The jobless rate for married fathers with children under 18 was 3.7 percent, while among unmarried fathers, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent.

For all persons with children under 18 (women and men, any marital status) the average annual unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, up from 3.9 percent the previous year.

These estimates are based on annual average data from the Current Population Survey, a national sample survey of about 60,000 households conducted monthly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau. See the Employment Characteristics of families in 2002 (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 03-369, for more information. Data for 2001 have been revised to reflect the introduction of Census 2000-based population controls. These data are for persons in the labor force with their "own children," which includes sons, daughters, step-children and adopted children. Nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and other related and unrelated children are not included. "Other marital status" includes never-married, divorced, separated, and widowed persons.

Related Articles:


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment of parents with children under 18 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2003/jul/wk2/art02.htm (visited September 30, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.