Re-Visiting the Family Gap in Pay in the United States

Pal, Ipshita; Waldfogel, Jane

Previous studies have examined the family gap in pay – the differential in hourly wages between women with children and women without children - at a point in time, across groups, or across countries, but we know little about whether, and how, the family gap has changed over time. We provide new evidence on this question for the United States from 1977 to 2007, using data from the 1978, 1988, 1998, and 2008 March Current Population Survey and a consistent set of methods to adjust for selection into motherhood and employment. We find that for women overall, after accounting for selection into motherhood, the penalty to motherhood in 2007 is similar to 1977. However, the results differ by race/ethnicity, education level, and marital status; most importantly, we find that the magnitude of the family gap has declined in recent decades for married mothers, but increased for never married mothers.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Columbia Population Research Center
Columbia Population Research Center
Columbia Population Research Center Working Papers, 14-02
Published Here
October 17, 2016