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America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2016

Secure Parental Employment

Secure parental employment is a major factor in the financial well-being of families. It is associated with higher family income and greater access to health insurance.20 It also has been linked to a number of positive outcomes for children, including better health, education and social/emotional development.21 One measure of secure parental employment is the percentage of children whose resident parent or parents were employed full time throughout a given year. Since 2000, the percentage of children living with a securely employed parent has declined for all children, regardless of race and Hispanic origin.

Figure 7: Percentage of children ages 0–17 living with at least one parent employed year round, full time by family structure and race and Hispanic origin, 2014
Percentage of children ages 0–17 living with at least one parent employed year round, full time by family structure and race and Hispanic origin, 2014

NOTE: The abbreviation NH refers to non-Hispanic origin. Year-round, full-time employment is defined as usually working full time (35 hours or more per week) for 50 to 52 weeks. Children living with a single mother or single father includes some families in which both parents are present in the household but are unmarried partners.

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

  • In 2014, White, non-Hispanic children were most likely to live with a parent who was securely employed (82 percent), meaning a parent who worked year round, full time. Hispanic children were less likely to have a securely employed parent (69 percent) and Black, non-Hispanic children were least likely (60 percent).
  • The pattern varied by family structure. Children with two married parents were most likely to have a securely employed parent in 2014, regardless of race and Hispanic origin, while children with a single mother were least likely.

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20 Child Trends. (2011). Secure parental employment. Retrieved from http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=secure-parental-employment

21 Cauthen, N. (2002). Improving children's economic security: Research findings about increasing family income through employment: Policies that improve family income matter for children (Policy Brief No. 1). Retrieved from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_480.pdf