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Report Number P70-79
Kristin Smith, Barbara Downs, Martin O’Connell
Component ID: #ti1398468396


Over half of American women with a child less than 1 year of age are currently in the labor force.1 For many women, a child’s birth signals numerous changes in the daily schedule at work and at home that both the family and employer must confront and resolve. This report examines trends in maternity leave and employment patterns of women who gave birth to their first child between January 1961 and December 1995.

The report primarily uses retrospective fertility, employment, and maternity leave data from the 1996 panel of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), conducted in 1996. However, previously published results based on similarly collected information from the 1984 and 1985 SIPP panels are also included.2

The report first discusses changes in characteristics of first-time mothers since the 1960s that are related to the likelihood of employment during pregnancy. These changes are placed in the historical context of the enactment of family-related legislation over the last quarter-century to better understand major work transformations that have occurred in women’s pre- and post-birth employment experiences.

Component ID: #ti1737665438

1 Amara Bachu and Martin O'Connell. Fertility of American Women: June 2000. Current Population Reports, P20-543. U.S. Census Bureau: Washington, DC, 2001.

2 Data shown for 1981 to 1994 were collected in the SIPP 1996 Panel, Wave 2. Data shown for 1961 to 1980 was collected in the SIPP 1984 and 1985 panels. For more information on the previously published report, see Martin O'Connell. "Maternity Leave Arrangements: 1961-85," in Work and Family Patterns of American Women. Current Population Reports, Series P23, No.165. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 1990.

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Component ID: #ti396638085

Source and Accuracy

Below is the Source and Accuracy information from the Survey of Income and Program Participation:

Component ID: #ti138454805

Wave 2

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