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CB10-08

Contact:  Robert Bernstein
Public Information Office
(301) 763-3030 (phone)
(301) 763-3762 (fax)
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PIO@census.gov

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  FRIDAY, JAN. 15, 2010

Census Bureau Reports Families With Children Increasingly Face Unemployment

     The latest look at the American family from the U.S. Census Bureau shows just what effect the recession is having on families and households. Of the 25.8 million married couples with children under 18, about 6 percent of husbands were unemployed in 2009, compared with 3 percent in 2007; 4 percent of wives were unemployed in 2009, compared with 2 percent in 2007.

     Among the 1.5 million family groups with two unmarried parents, 16 percent of the fathers were unemployed in March of 2009, compared with 9 percent in March of 2007, while 8 percent of the mothers were unemployed in 2009, compared with 4 percent in 2007.

     In 2009, 12 percent of the 1.7 million father-only family groups with children under 18 were maintained by an unemployed father, compared with 7 percent in 2007. Of the 9.9 million mother-only family groups, 10 percent were unemployed in 2009 compared with 6 percent in 2007.

     “These statistics show us that families are having a difficult time during this recession,” said Rose Kreider, family demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. "The data allow us to track annual changes in the structure and condition of the American family."

     These data come from the March 2009 Current Population Survey, presented as a series of detailed tables known as America's Families and Living Arrangements. The tables provide current and historical perspective, allowing for the examination of different types of families by employment status as well as other demographic characteristics over time.

     The percentage of married couples with children under 18 with both parents employed dropped from 63 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2009. A higher percentage of married couples with children under 18 had only the wife employed in 2009 (7 percent) than in 2007 (5 percent).

     These statistics varied by race and ethnicity. White non-Hispanic married couples with children under 18 where both were employed went from 66 percent in 2007 to 63 percent in 2009. The percentage of these couples where only the wife was employed went from 4 percent in 2007 to 7 percent in 2009.

     Black married couples with children under 18 with both parents employed went from 66 percent in 2007 to 61 percent in 2009. The percentage of these couples where only the wife was employed went from 9 percent in 2007 to 12 percent in 2009.

     Asian married couples with children under 18 where both spouses were employed went from 57 percent in 2007 to 55 percent in 2009. The percentage of these couples where only the wife was employed went from 5 percent in 2007 to 7 percent in 2009. Neither of these changes was statistically significant.

     Hispanic married couples with children under 18 where both spouses were employed went from 50 percent in 2007 to 43 percent in 2009. The percentage of these couples where only the wife was employed went from 5 percent in 2007 to 8 percent in 2009.

     Other statistics of note —

  • The percentage of children living with two parents varied by race and origin —

                   -- 85 percent of Asian children

                   -- 38 percent of black children

                   -- 69 percent of Hispanic children

                   -- 78 percent of white, non-Hispanic

  • The median age at first marriage was 28.1 for men and 25.9 for women.
  • In 2009, 67.5 million opposite-sex couples lived together -- 60.8 million were married and 6.7 million were not.
  • The United States had an estimated 5.3 million "stay-at-home" parents: 5.1 million mothers and 158,000 fathers. The number of stay-at-home moms was lower in 2009 (5.1 million) than in 2008 (5.3 million). The number of stay-at-home dads did not differ statistically between 2008 and 2009.
  • In 2009, 22.6 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15 had a stay-at-home mother, down from 23.7 percent in 2008.
  • Spouses in 7.6 percent of married couples in 2009 were of different races or one spouse was Hispanic and the other was non-Hispanic. This is up from 6.4 percent of married couples in 2003. When only race is considered, regardless of Hispanic origin, the percentage of mixed race couples was 4.1 percent in 2009, compared with 3.7 percent in 2003. (In cases where both spouses reported being multiracial, they were not considered to be mixed-race couples.) The earliest year for which these comparisons can be made using data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement is 2003.
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Comparisons not listed explicitly in these statements may not differ statistically. For example, unemployment among fathers across different types of family groups may not differ within the same year.

The Current Population Survey is a monthly survey of households conducted by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It provides comprehensive data on labor force participation, employment and unemployment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues the official unemployment numbers.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014