This Research-in-Brief is based on selected findings from an Institute for Women’s Policy Research study, Life After Welfare Reform: The Characteristics, Work, and Well Being of Low-Income Single Parent Families, Pre- and Post-PRWORA. The findings in this study underscore the need to make improvements to the welfare system to address gender and racial inequities and focus on poverty reduction.
Despite a spate of recent news articles reporting a slow down and even reversal of the long-term growth in women’s labor force participation– articles that assume the reversal is led by mothers anxious to stay at home with their children– the data show that most mothers are continuing to increase their participation in the labor force, even during the current recession. More women are working than ever before. Married mothers and mothers of very young children have increased their labor force participation most.
Child care in the nation’s capital, like the nation in general, is essential. the increased labor force participation of mothers, increased poverty rates, and the increasing evidence of positive effects of preschool on poor children, has made understanding the demographics of children and their families very necessary.