Content By Xiaolin Zhuo

Xiaolin Zhuo
By: Alexandra Killewald, Xiaolin Zhuo

Almost 70 percent of American mothers with children younger than 18 work for pay, but motherhood remains disruptive for many women’s work lives.

American women earn almost 20 percent less per hour than their male peers, in part because women disproportionately take responsibility for raising children. Mothers often experience employment interruptions or reductions in work hours.

When it comes to understanding mothers’ long-term employment patterns, researchers know less. How common is it for mothers to persist working full-time throughout their child-rearing years? Which mothers are most likely to be absent from the labor market over the long term? What do employment patterns look like for mothers who fall in between these two extremes?