Most Parents Working Hard in 2017 to Provide for Their Children

Posted August 16, 2019
Update parentsinlaborforce 2019

Sub­stan­tial majori­ties of par­ents in the Unit­ed States are in the country’s labor force, and the per­cent­age of par­ents who are work­ing (or look­ing for work) is as high as before, dur­ing and after the Great Reces­sion, accord­ing to the lat­est data.

Immi­grant and Non­im­mi­grant Fam­i­lies in the Workforce

In 2017, 73% of chil­dren were liv­ing in U.S.-born fam­i­lies with all avail­able par­ents in the labor force. (“All avail­able par­ents” means both par­ents, if present, or a sin­gle par­ent when only one is present.) In that same year, 61% of chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies lived with all avail­able par­ents in the labor force.

These fig­ures have held remark­ably steady over time. For chil­dren in U.S.-born fam­i­lies, 73% was a 10-year high; for every oth­er year since 2008, the num­ber was either 71% or 72%. For chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies, the share has hov­ered in a tight range between 60% and 62%.

Chil­dren With All Par­ents in the Labor Force by State

There is some vari­a­tion among the states in these data. Not every state had suf­fi­cient num­bers of chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies, but in those that did, Mass­a­chu­setts (73%) had the high­est per­cent­age of chil­dren in immi­grant fam­i­lies with all avail­able par­ents in the labor force, fol­lowed by Hawaii and Mary­land (both 71%). New Mex­i­co had the low­est share (50%), fol­lowed by Alaba­ma and Michi­gan (both 51%).

Inter­est­ing­ly, the five states where the fig­ure for chil­dren in U.S.-born fam­i­lies with all avail­able par­ents work­ing is 80% or high­er are con­tigu­ous in the Mid­west — Iowa, Min­neso­ta, Nebras­ka, North Dako­ta and Wisconsin.

View more Eco­nom­ic Well-Being Indi­ca­tors on the KIDS COUNT Data Center

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