Does motherhood mean working for less?: the impact of having children on women’s income

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Curtis, Kelcey
Hertzog, Jodie

This study addresses the overall question: what effect does being childfree have on married women‟s income? Using data from the ATUS 2005-2007, three sets of hypotheses were tested to assess different theoretical relationships between motherhood and income. Questions explored include: Do married women hit a “maternal wall”? Does educational attainment affect income for women differently based on parental status? And are mothers disproportionately “crowded” into inferior economic positions? Findings indicate that age and level of education significantly impact income, as does occupational sector. On average, women with children do earn less per week ($615) than women without children ($651). Interestingly, however, women with children occupy a higher percentage of the white-collar high skill job categories (50%) than women without children (44%). Multivariate analyses suggest that women with children earn slightly more than childfree women at the weekly earnings level. However, explanations for this finding vary. This research yields some surprising results and implications of this research are substantial.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Sociology