January 24, 2019

Young Kids and Parental Employment

Data on children under age 6 with no parent in the labor force by state

According to 2017 data, 66% of the nation’s youngest children — more than 14.9 million kids under the age of 6 — are growing up in families where all parents in their home are employed.

This means that 34% of young children have at least one unemployed parent at home. Within this group, 8% of kids across the country are living in homes where no parent is employed.

Nationally, these rates have remained relatively static since 2008.

Unemployment and low earnings can limit parents' capacity to support their child’s well-being. When these limitations arise during the earliest years of childhood — a time of rapid cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and motor development — they can undermine the solid foundation that kids need to thrive.

At the state level, the percentage of young kids who are growing up in a household where no parent works dips to a low of 4% in Iowa (10,000 kids) and Minnesota (15,000 kids) and climbs to a high of 17% in West Virginia (18,000 kids). In Puerto Rico, an American territory, 30% of children under the age of 6 (52,000) are growing up in households where no parent works.

The percentage of young kids who are growing up in a household where all parents work also varies at the state level. This statistic drops to a low of 52% in Utah (154,000 kids) and reaches a high of 75% in Iowa (172,000 kids), Minnesota (312,000 kids) and Nebraska (115,000 kids).