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About four-fifths of parents with children under age 18 participated in the labor force in 1998. The labor force participation rates were 71.8 percent for mothers and 94.6 percent for fathers.
Fathers participated in the labor force to a greater extent when their youngest child was under the age of 6. Of those fathers, 96.1 percent were in the labor force. In comparison, mothers participated less when their youngest was under age 6. Among those mothers, the participation rate was 64.9 percent.
The participation rate of fathers whose youngest child was school age (6-17) was 93.5 percent—slightly below the overall rate for fathers. Conversely, the labor force participation rate of mothers whose youngest child was school age was well above the overall rate for mothers at 77.6 percent.
These data on the labor force participation of parents are produced by the Current Population Survey. More information can be found in "Employment Characteristics of Families in 1998," news release USDL 99-146.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Labor force participation of fathers and mothers varies with children’s ages at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/jun/wk1/art03.htm (visited March 22, 2023).