Facts and Figures: The Real Story of Working Moms in the USA

The statistics on working moms in the USA provide insights into the realities of modern motherhood in the workforce.

These statistics reveal the prevalence of working moms in the US, the challenges they face in balancing work and family responsibilities, and the impact of their employment on their children and households.

From the percentage of working mothers in different industries to the effects of maternal employment on children’s academic performance, these statistics shed light on the complex and often conflicting roles that working mothers play in American society.

Understanding these statistics can help policymakers, employers, and families create more supportive and inclusive environments for working mothers and their families.

Infographic depicting statistics on working mothers in the USA, including the number of working mothers (23.5 million), labor force participation rates, and differences in participation rates based on age of children and marital status.
  1. As of 2021, there are approximately 23.5 million working mothers in the United States.
  2. In 2020, 70% of mothers with children under the age of 18 participated in the labor force.
  3. Women with children under age 6 have a lower labor force participation rate (64.1%) than women whose youngest child is between the ages of 6 and 17 (76.7%).
  4. In 2020, married mothers with young children were more likely to be in the labor force (68.8%) than those who were unmarried (60.9%).
  5. In 2020, mothers in the labor force worked an average of 5.5 hours per day on days they worked, compared to 8.2 hours for fathers.
  6. Working mothers with a graduate or professional degree had the highest labor force participation rate (87.7%) among all education levels in 2020.
  7. In 2020, women who worked full-time, year-round earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men who worked full-time, year-round. This wage gap is larger for mothers, who earn only 70 cents for every dollar earned by fathers.
  8. 25% of working mothers in the United States report experiencing discrimination at work due to their gender and/or parental status.
  9. The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted working mothers, with 30% considering leaving the workforce due to pandemic-related challenges such as school and daycare closures.
  10. In 2021, 50% of mothers with children under 18 reported experiencing burnout compared to 40% of fathers.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, June 16). Employment characteristics of families in 2020.

National Women’s Law Center. (2021). The child care crisis caused by COVID-19.

U.S. Department of Labor. (2020). Highlights of women’s earnings in 2019.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2021, August 18). Table B23008, sex by age by employment status for the population 16 years and over.

U.S. Department of Labor. (2020). Women in the labor force: A databook.

Pew Research Center. (2021, April 30). Women in the workforce before, during, and after the great recession.

National Partnership for Women & Families. (2020). America’s women and the wage gap.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021, January 22). Labor force statistics from the current population survey.

National Partnership for Women & Families. (2021). Paid family and medical leave: An overview.

Abhay Kumar

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