Labor force participation rate of mothers

December 04, 2006

From 1975 to 2000, the labor force participation rate of mothers with children under age 18 rose from 47 to 73 percent.

Labor force participation rate of women by presence and age of youngest child, 1975-2005
[Chart data—TXT]

By 2005, the rate had receded slightly to about 71 percent.

In general, mothers with older children (6 to 17 years of age) are more likely to participate in the labor force than are mothers of younger children (under 6 years of age).

The labor force participation rate of mothers with older children rose from 55 to 79 percent during the last quarter of the 20th century, before declining to 77 percent by 2005. The rate for mothers with younger children has ranged from 39 to 65 over the last three decades, peaking in 2000.

These data are annual averages from the Current Population Survey. For a wide variety of information on women and work, see Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (2006 Edition), BLS Report 996.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor force participation rate of mothers on the Internet at (visited September 25, 2016).


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