Children whose parents lack secure employment

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Why This Indicator Matters

Children living in families lacking secure parental employment are vulnerable. Without at least one parent employed full time, children are more likely to fall into poverty. Yet too many parents who want full-time work are forced to piece together part-time or temporary jobs that do not provide sufficient or stable income; some lack the education and skills needed to secure a good job. Even a full-time job at low wages does not necessarily lift a family out of poverty.

This indicator is part of the KIDS COUNT Child Well-Being Index. Read the KIDS COUNT Data Book to learn more: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/publications.

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Definitions: The share of all children under age 18 living in families where no parent has regular, full-time employment.

For children living in single-parent families, this means the resident parent did not work at least 35 hours per week, at least 50 weeks in the 12 months prior to the survey. For children living in married-couple families, this means neither parent worked at least 35 hours per week, at least 50 weeks in the 12 months prior to the survey. Children living with neither parent were listed as not having secure parental employment because those children are likely to be economically vulnerable. Children under age 18 who are householders, spouses of householders, or unmarried partners of householders were excluded from this analysis. This measure is very similar to the measure called "Secure Parental Employment," used by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics in its publication America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.

Data Source: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 Supplementary Survey, 2001 Supplementary Survey, 2002 through 2007 American Community Survey.
The data for this measure come from the 2000 and 2001 Supplementary Survey and the 2002 through 2007 American Community Survey (ACS). The 2000 through 2004 ACS surveyed approximately 700,000 households monthly during each calendar year. In general but particularly for these years, use caution when interpreting estimates for less populous states or indicators representing a small sub-population, where the sample size is relatively small. Beginning in January 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the ACS sample to 3 million households (full implementation), and in January 2006 the ACS included group quarters. The ACS, fully implemented, is designed to provide annually updated social, economic, and housing data for states and communities. (Such local-area data have traditionally been collected once every ten years in the long form of the decennial census.)

Footnotes: Updated February 2009.
S – Estimates suppressed when the confidence interval around the percentage is greater than or equal to 10 percentage points. 
N.A. – Data not available. 
Data are provided for the 50 most populous cities according to the most recent Census counts.  Cities for which data is collected may change over time. 
A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at Children whose parents lack secure employment.