Working Hard for the Money

Trends in Women's Employment, 1970 to 2008

By the Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

January 1, 2008

Summary

This report documents the changing nature of women and work nationally, and in rural and urban areas, concentrating on five big changes: 1) the increase in women's employment; 2) the recent "opting out" phenomenon; 3) the rise in women's earnings and declines in the earnings gap; 4) the rise in the working poor; and 5) the decline in the traditional family structure of a husband-breadwinner with a stay-at-home wife.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

College graduates work more and earn less in rural areas.

In 2006, 70% of married women with children under age 6 in rural areas worked for pay compared with 64% in urban areas.

Findings & Stats

Employment rates of women by education, 1970-2007

Percent of equal earner couples by education, 2007

Percent of couples with wives as primary and sole providers by race and ethnicity, 2007

Statements & Quotations