U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Working Mothers and Child Care

In 2007, 71.0 percent of women with children under 18 years of age were in the labor force (either employed or looking for work) and 67.8 percent were employed. Of mothers with children under 6 years of age, 63.3 percent were in the labor force and 59.6 percent were employed. Of women with children aged 6-17 years, 77.2 percent were in the labor force and 74.3 percent were employed.

Employed mothers with children aged 6-17 years were more likely to be employed full-time than women with younger children (77.8 percent versus 72.5 percent). Married mothers with a spouse present were less likely to be in the labor force than women of other marital statuses (68.8 percent versus 76.5 percent). Married mothers who were in the labor force, however, were more likely than mothers of other marital statuses to be employed: the unemployment rate among married mothers was only 3.0 percent, compared to a rate of 8.0 percent among mothers of other marital statuses (data not shown).

In 2005, 40 percent of children under 6 years of age did not require nonparental child care, while 60 percent required at least one child care arrangement. Overall, 60 percent of children with at least one child care arrangement received center-based care, 22 percent received care from a nonrelative, and 35 percent received care from a relative other than a parent (data not shown). Among children who received child care, 56.9 percent of children aged 3-5 years received center-based care compared to 22.8 percent of children aged 1-2 years and 11.8 percent of children under 1 year of age.

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