Employment in families with children in 2016

April 27, 2017

In 2016, 34.2 million families included children under age 18, about two-fifths of all families. Among married-couple families with children, 96.8 percent had at least one employed parent, and 61.1 percent had both parents employed. Married-couple families whose youngest child was 6 to 17 years old were more likely to have both parents employed (64.7 percent) than families in which the youngest child was under 6 years old (56.3 percent).

 

 

Percent of married-couple families with children, by the employment status of the parents and the age of the youngest child, 2016 annual averages
Characteristic With children under 18 years Youngest child 6 to 17 years Youngest child under 6 years

Total

100.0 100.0 100.0

Both parents employed

61.1 64.7 56.3

Mother employed, not father

5.4 6.1 4.5

Father employed, not mother

30.3 25.7 36.3

Neither parent employed

3.2 3.5 2.9

Among families maintained by mothers, the mother was employed in 72.5 percent of those families. The mother was employed in 76.2 percent of families in which the youngest child was 6 to 17 years old and 66.8 percent of families in which the youngest child was under 6 years.

 

 

Percent of families maintained by mothers and fathers in which the parent is employed, by the age of the youngest child, 2016 annual averages
Characteristic With children under 18 years Youngest child 6 to 17 years Youngest child under 6 years

Families maintained by mother

72.5 76.2 66.8

Families maintained by father

82.6 81.8 83.8

The father was employed in 82.6 percent of families maintained by fathers; fathers were slightly less likely to be employed in families with older children than with children under 6 years old.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Employment Characteristics of Families — 2016" (HTML) (PDF). A family is a group of two or more people living together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. Families are classified as married-couple families or as families maintained by women or men without spouses present. Children are sons, daughters, step-children, or adopted children living in the household who are under 18 years old. Not included are nieces, nephews, grandchildren, other related and unrelated children, and children not living in the household.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment in families with children in 2016 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2017/employment-in-families-with-children-in-2016.htm (visited November 19, 2017).

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