U.S. Women's Labor Force Participation, Children and Change: 1980-2000

Ann Von Holle, University of Pennsylvania

This paper addresses changes in the labor force participation rates of white, non-Hispanic married women in single-family households by presence of children less than five in the household from 1980 to 2000. Studies of relations between women, children and labor force participation frequently analyze the risk of withdrawal from the labor force upon the birth of a child using longitudinal data. In this study, the analysis offers an alternative cross-sectional perspective based on U.S. census samples in 1980, 1990 and 2000. Participation rates by child status of the woman derive from a negative binomial regression model that controls for education level, age and presence of children 5-18. Results demonstrate women with children under five are adapting labor force participation rates increasingly similar to those without children over time and this effect occurs differentially across education levels.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration, Income, Employment, Neighborhoods and Residential Context