Parent Work Schedules in Households with Young Children

Publication Date: October 6, 2017
Parent Work Schedules in Households with Young Children

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  • Published: 2017


This research snapshot describes work schedules of parents of young children during a reference week in 2012. We describe how work schedules differ for households of different income levels; between one-parent and two-parent families; and in households where neither, one, or both parents work. One group of particular focus is ‘fully-employed’ households; these are households where all parents work –a one-parent/one-worker household or a two-parent/two-worker household.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Parents in fully-employed households work on average similar numbers of hours per week whether they are in one- or two-parent households.
  • In two-parent households where only one parent works, that working parent works more hours per week than the parents in fully-employed households.
  • Workers in two-parent fully-employed households arrange their work schedules so that they have relatively fewer hours per week when both parents are in work-related activities, even though both parents may work substantial numbers of hours each week.


This snapshot uses data for 8,130 children in the household survey of the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE). The NSECE is a set of four integrated, nationally representative surveys conducted in 2012.

These were surveys of:

  1. households with children under 13
  2. home-based providers of ECE
  3. center-based providers of ECE
  4. the center-based provider workforce.

Together they characterize the supply of and demand for early care and education in America and permit better understanding of how well families’ needs and preferences coordinate with providers’ offerings and constraints.


National Survey of Early Care and Education Project Team (2017). Snapshot: Parent Work Schedules in Households with Young Children. OPRE Report No. 2017-48, Washington DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Current as of: