TitleOccupational Structure and the Employment of American Mothers of Young Children
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsEdwards, M
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Pagination31 - 53
Date Published2005
ISBN Number1058-0476

Explanations for the increase of employment for American mothers with young children have focused on women's motivations and skills or on increased wages. Instead, this analysis considers how access to professional and managerial occupations may explain this employment trend. Relying on Current Population Survey data (1968-1995), the study reports that growing availability of these occupations explains less than 1/4 of employment growth. The percentage of full-time employed newer mothers in professional and managerial occupations, while having grown substantially over time, remains relatively small. Part-time employment does not explain the trend. Relatively high rates of full-time work, even for low-prestige occupations, affirm existing research emphasizing family economic need and validate questions about the structure of work for accommodating family obligations.