Work Force Status of Millennial Custodial Parents VS Generation X

The Census data on custodial parents collected in April 2018 asked respondents about their work experience in the prior year (i.e. 2017). Using these responses, we find that nearly 80% of millennial custodial parents in the child support program worked in 2017 (Figure 4). Earlier generations were slightly less likely to work in 2017 – 75% of Generation X and 68% of Baby Boomers and older custodial parents worked that year. Generation Z custodial parents were the least likely generation to work in 2017 at 62%.

Millennial custodial parents in the child support program were also more likely to work part-time or part-year than earlier generations, but less likely to work part-time or part-year than Generation Z and younger parents. These differences are due, in large part, to the stage in life that each generation of custodial parents is experiencing. Millennials were between the ages of 22 and 37 in 2017, prime years for having young children in the home. Generation Z and younger custodial parents were between the ages of 15 and 21 in 2017, prime years to be in school.

Figure 4. Workforce Status of Custodial Parents in the Child Support Program by Generation

work force millenial vs gen x

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 and 2018 Current Population Survey Child Support Supplement.

Note: This survey asks respondents about their work experience during the prior year (i.e. 2001 and 2017). Column percentages may not sum to 100% due to rounding.

Figure 4 also shows that when Generation X custodial parents were the same age as millennial custodial parents (in 2001), their work force status was similar to that of millennials when they were the same age (in 2017). Specifically, 45% of millennial parents and 46% of Generation X parents worked full-time, full-year when they were between the ages of 22 and 37 years old. Another 34% and 36% worked part-time or part-year, respectively.

 

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