Recent Childbearing and the Search for Employment: How Do Migrants Differ?

Kevin J.A. Thomas, Harvard University

Although the relationship between childbearing and female employment has been extensively examined, few studies have investigated whether the impact of childbearing on female labor force outcomes varies by migration status. Such studies are needed because migrants have unique child bearing patterns and, unlike non-migrants, have limited access to kin-based child care options. This study focuses on recent mothers who are unemployed and examines how the likelihood of seeking employment during the year following child-birth varies by migration status. Our preliminary results show that, while migrant women had a lower likelihood of seeking employment than non-migrants, immigrant women who were "never married" were least likely to do so. Furthermore, some household demographic characteristics have a differential impact on the likelihood of seeking employment that is conditional on migration status. The results also suggest that disparities in the likelihood of seeking employment are associated with child care options and socioeconomic status.

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Presented in Session 40: Work, Child Care and Fertility