Why Did Employment and Earnings Rise Among Lone Mothers During the 1980s and 1990s?
Employment rates and earnings among single mothers improved significantly after 1980, and by 2000, low-income rates reached new historic lows. Unlike married mothers, most of the gains among lone mothers were the result of the dynamics of population change and cohort replacement as the large and better educated baby boom generation replaced earlier cohorts and began entering their forties. Most of these gains, moreover, went to older lone mothers. The demographically driven gains of lone mothers in the past quarter century were an historical event unlikely to be repeated in the future. Since the demographic drivers underlying these gains are now nearing maturity, future gains from this source are likely to be modest.
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