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NASP Home NASP Publications School Psychology Review (SPR) Volume 9 Issue 4 (1980) Ecology of Childhood
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Volume 9, Issue 4 (1980)

Ecology of Childhood

pp. 294—297

We are facing a major social resolution in America today, the “changing” family. This basic institution, which is directly involved with the care and development of children, has been undergoing some rapid and radical changes over the past quarter of a century. The first and most striking trend has been the increase in working mothers. Once their children are old enough to go to school, the majority of American mothers now enter the labor force. Since the early fifties, mothers of school age children have been more likely to work than married women without children. As of March 1974,51% of married women with children from age 6 to 17 were engaged in or seeking work; in 1948, the rate was about half as high, 26%. The most recent and most rapid increase has been occurring for mothers of young children. One-third of all married women with children under six were in the labor force in 1974, three times as high as in 1948.Mothers of infants were not far behind; three out of ten married women with children under three were in the work force last year. Whether their children were infants or teenagers, the great majority (2/3rds) of the mothers who had jobs were working full time. These figures specifically apply to families in which the husband was present. Those for single-parent families have increased at an even greater rate.

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