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Working Family Values Factoids

Current Trends
Working women and the changing family structure
Working families and childcare
Work, family and the time crunch
Working for a "Living Wage"

Working women and the changing family structure

Two-earner families, where both husband and wife were the family breadwinners, increased from 39 percent in 1980 to 55 percent in 1993. (Workforce 2020. )

By 1997, nearly 60 percent of American women were in the labor force, up from 33 percent in 1950. (Workforce 2020.)

The millions of women in the US workplace more than tripled from 1948 to 1995. 17 million women were employed in `48 compared to 60 million in `95. (Bureau of Labor Stats: Employment and Earnings.)

Among Fortune 500 companies, 5 percent of senior managers are women and 10 percent of board members are female. (Glass Ceiling Commission report, from SF Chronicle, 1/18/96.)

Women owned businesses make up 33 percent of all domestic firms and 40 percent of all retail and service firms. (Census Bureau)

Women-owned businesses employ 15.5 million people (35 percent more workers in the US than the Fortune 500 employs world-wide;) they make up 7.7 million businesses in the US. And their companies generate nearly $1.4 trillion in annual sales. ("Women-Owned Businesses: Breaking the Boundaries," The Devillier Report)

Only half of all women believe they can adequately fulfill their responsibilities to their children if they work full-time. Only 13 percent of working women with children want to work full time, regular hours, although 52 percent of them hold full-time jobs. Six of ten working mothers want part-time employment, flex time, or stay at home jobs. (Workforce 2000)

In 61 percent of married couple families, both husband and wife work outside the home. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Working families and childcare

One-and-a-half percent of the country's 479,000 family child care providers are men. (US Dept. of Labor, Women's Bureau)

Childcare fields currently employ about 2.3 million workers and opportunities in these fields are expected to grow at a faster than average rate through the year 2005. (US DOL, Women's Bureau)

Some 800,000 married men in the US are the primary caregivers for their children and working wives. This number has doubled in the last two decades. (Boston Globe, 3/24/1997.)

Nearly half of women with children are back at work within a year of a child's birth. (Apter, Terri. "Working Women Don't Have Wives." Census Bureau Report, "Fertility of American Women: June `95 (Update)" )

Sixty percent of all families had a traditional structure in 1940 with dad the breadwinner and mom the homemaker. Today 13 percent of families fit the traditional structure. (Economic Policy Foundation, "American Workplace: Labor Day 1997 Report; Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Of the 4,000 Denver area day care centers or homes, there are only 2 or 3 male run centers on file at one time. (Denver-based Work and Family Resource Center.)

Full-day child care easily costs $4,000 to $10,000 per year--equal to what families pay for college tuition plus room and board at a public university. (Childcare Information Exchange, July, 1996)

One in eight centers were found to be providing care that could jeopardize children's safety and development. (Families and Work Institute)

Child care workers in private households have median weekly earnings of $198 in 1996. (US DOL, Women's Bureau)

Nearly five million children are home alone after school each week. (Center for Research on Women, Wellesley College.)

Work, family and the time crunch

88 percent of individuals want flex time scheduling. (Penn and Schoen Associates, Sept. 1995 poll.)

Childcare is the biggest job at home for both men and women. But women spend more than three times as many hours tending the kids. Women spend about 35 hours per week on child care, double the time men spend (17 hours per week.)("Time for Life," Penn State Univ. Press. 1995 Estimates.)

Parents of both sexes are spending an average of ten or twelve hours less per week with their children than when they did in 1960. (Journal of the American Medical Association study, from The New Yorker.)

Forty-two percent of working parents are spending less time with their spouses. (Yankelovich Partners 1996 poll; San Francisco Chronicle 1/11/1998)

McDonald's is still the source of 10 percent of family meals. (According to eating trends expert Harry Balzer of the NPD Group.)

The average American's lunch hour is 29 minutes. (NYT 4/16/97)


Nearly 10 million Americans 65 years and older live alone, or 30 percent of all non-institutionalized older persons live alone. (1995 US Bureau of the Census, from the Administration on Aging)

Thirty-four million people in the US are age 65 and over, representing about one in every eight Americans. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans 65+ has more than tripled, and the number has increased nearly eleven times. More dramatic, the 75-84 age group (11.4 million) was 16 times larger (than in 1900) and the 85+ group (3.8 million) was 31 times larger. (US Census Bureau)

Half of the country's 65+ population live in nine states. New York State is one of the highest concentrated states with persons 65+ years. In 1996, New York, tied with Florida, had over 2 million elderly people living there. (US Bureau of the Census.)

By 2050, the ratio of parents who need support from their children or from caregiving staff will more than triple. (Mama Can't Remember Anymore, by Nancy Wexler)

The most rapid increase in the elderly is expected between the years 2010 and 2030 when the "baby boom" generation reaches age 65. Census Bureau predictions put the elderly population at 70 million in 2030, and representing 20 percent of the country's population. (NY Times)

Working for a "Living Wage"

The average American household income is $35,492 a year. (Census, 1996 figures)

Nearly 14 percent of Americans or 36.5 million households' income falls below the poverty line. (Census Bureau: 1997 Current Population Survey.)

Seventy five percent of minimum wage earners are not teenagers, but adults whom mostly belong to low income families. They bring in about half of their families' total earnings. (Economic Policy Institute; Progressive Magazine, April 1, 1996)

More than a third of Los Angeles County's labor force2.4 million working people earn an average of $5.64 an hour for a 33-hour work week or about $9,300 a year. (Los Angeles Times, 1/2/97)

The "living wage" in Los Angeles is $7.25 an hour plus $1.25 in benefits (12 paid days off a year plus family health care insurance) or $8.50 an hour without benefits. Private firms holding city service contracts (negotiated after May 5, 1997) worth more than $25,000 are required to pay the "living wage."

Seven million Americans worked 15 million jobs in 1995. Nearly 60 percent of multiple jobholders work hold one full-time position and a second part-time job. Multiple job holders work an average of 48.2 hours a week, and 1.79 million work 50 to 59 hours. (Bureau of Labor Statistics and Wall Street Journal, 2/18/97)

Livelyhood's second one-hour special, "Working Family Values," aired on PBS in May 1998. For information on how to order the show, call 510-268-WORK.

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