Married mothers less likely to participate in labor force in 2017 than other moms

April 26, 2018

Married mothers of children under age 18 remained less likely to participate in the labor force in 2017 than mothers with other marital statuses. The labor force participation rate for married mothers was 68.6 percent in 2017, compared with 76.5 percent for mothers with other marital statuses.

Labor force participation rates of women by marital status and presence and age of own children under 18, 2017 annual averages
        Age of child        Married, spouse present Never married; widowed; divorced;
married, spouse absent; or separated

Under 18 years

68.6% 76.5%

6 to 17 years

73.6 80.2

Under 6 years

62.2 71.4

Under 3 years

60.0 67.5

2 years

61.9 73.6

1 year

60.1 69.3

Under 1 year

58.1 59.6

No children under 18

51.7 51.9

Mothers with young children are less likely to be in the labor force than those with older children. In 2017, the labor force participation rate of married mothers with children under 6 years old was 62.2 percent. That compares with a rate of 73.6 percent for married mothers whose youngest child was 6 to 17 years old. Among mothers of other marital statuses, the labor force participation rate was 71.4 percent for those with children under age 6, compared with 80.2 percent for those whose youngest child was 6 to 17 years old.

Among mothers with children under 3 years old, the participation rate of married mothers was 60.0 percent. This was lower than the rate of mothers with other marital statuses, at 67.5 percent.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "Employment Characteristics of Families — 2017" (HTML) (PDF). Married, spouse present, includes people in opposite-sex married couples only. Other marital statuses include people who were never married or who were widowed, divorced, separated, married with an absent spouse, or in same-sex marriages. 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, Married mothers less likely to participate in labor force in 2017 than other moms on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/married-mothers-less-likely-to-participate-in-labor-force-in-2017-than-other-moms.htm (visited September 25, 2018).