Working for Pay

Parents of children aged 12 and older were asked whether their children worked outside the home for pay in the previous week and, if so, how many hours their children had worked for pay in the previous week. Overall, 28.1 percent of children aged 12–17 years had worked for pay in the previous week. Working for pay was more common among adolescents in small rural areas than in urban areas; 31.9 percent of those in small rural areas worked for pay, compared to 27.5 percent of urban adolescents.

The percentage of adolescents who worked at least 10 hours for pay in the previous week was lower among children in households with incomes below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) compared to children from higher-income households. This difference was greatest in small rural areas where 14.0 percent of adolescents with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL worked at least 10 hours compared to 4.8 percent of those with incomes below 100 percent of the FPL. Within each income category, the percentage of teens who worked for pay did not vary significantly across locations, except among adolescents with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL. Among adolescents in this income category, those in small rural areas were significantly more likely to have worked for pay than those in urban and large rural areas (14.0 versus 7.0 and 8.6 percent, respectively).

With regard to race and ethnicity, the proportion of non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic children of multiple or other races who worked at least 10 hours did not vary across locations. Hispanic youth in large rural areas, however, were more likely to work than their peers in urban areas (7.7 versus 2.6 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic White adolescents in small rural areas were significantly more likely than those in large rural and urban areas to have worked at least 10 hours for pay (12.7 versus 9.3 and 10.1 percent, respectively).

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