Disability and Employment for Single Mothers, 1989-2004

Philip N. Cohen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper investigates trends in employment for single mothers with and without disabilities from 1989 to 2004, using annual data for single mothers ages 25-54 from the March Current Population Surveys (CPS). Results show, first, a growing employment rate gap between those with and without disabilities, net of common control variables. Second, this trend is unlikely to result largely from greater access to disability benefits. Third, single mothers, especially those with disabilities, have become more likely to live in extended households; implications of this trend depend on the form of household extension. Finally, disability has significant interactive effects for Black single mothers, those with college degrees, and those with greater other household income. This is consistent with the suggestion that single mothers with disabilities are especially likely to remain out of the labor force if they cannot get jobs adequate to cover the costs their labor force entry would incur.

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Presented in Session 67: Disability and Work