Employment rates of mothers, by age of youngest child

More mothers entered the labour market over the years

  • Employment rates among mothers aged 15 to 54 with young children are lower than the rates for mothers of the same age with school-aged children. Over the past three decades, there were strong increases in the employment rates among these two groups of mothers, especially in the late 1970s and in the 1980s. Mothers with children under the age of 6 have seen their employment rate more than double since 1976, from 31.5% to 68.1% in 2007.

  • In 2007, mothers of school-age children were about as likely to be working as women with no children in the home. The employment rate of mothers with children aged 6 to 15 increased from 47.1% in 1976 to 79.5% in 2007, approaching the rate for women without children at home (80.9%).

  • In the late 1970s, single mothers had the highest employment rates among mothers with children under 16, but by 1983, the pattern had reversed, and mothers with employed husbands had the highest employment rate. For single mothers, the employment rate rose by 21.9 percentage points since 1976 to 70.8% in 2007, while for mothers with employed husbands, it increased by 39.3 percentage points to 76.6%.

Chart B.6
Employment rates of mothers aged 15 to 54, by age of youngest child at home, 1976 to 2007

Chart B.6 Employment rates of mothers aged 15 to 54, by age of youngest child at home, 1976 to 2007

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.