The Labor Market Behavior of Married Women with Young Children in the U.S.: Have Differences by Religion Disappeared?

Evelyn L. Lehrer, University of Illinois at Chicago
Yu Chen, University of Illinois at Chicago

Using data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth, we study the role of religious affiliation and participation in the labor supply behavior of non-Hispanic married women with children under age six. While the labor market decisions of Catholic mothers are not significantly different from those of their mainline Protestant counterparts, conservative Protestant mothers stand out for their low levels of labor market attachment. With regard to religious participation, we find a non-linear association: the probability of non-employment is high both among women who have zero attendance at religious services and among those who attend more than once a week - for the latter especially. Reasons for these non-linearities are explored. Our results indicate that religion and related gender-role ideologies continue to play an important role in the labor market decisions of married women with young children in the United States.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households