Family structure and employment of 15-year-olds

October 18, 2001

Employment among 15-year-olds did not vary much by family structure in 1994-97. The only exception involved those not living with parents.

Percent of youths employed at age 15 in the week prior to the interview, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), 1994-97, by family structure
[Chart data—TXT]

Youths aged 15 in two-biological-parent, those in other two-parent families, and those in female-parent families all had about the same likelihood of working for pay, whether in employee jobs, or in freelance jobs, or both.

For those 15-year-olds not living with either parent, the percent employed was notably lower than for those living with a parent. Youths who do not live with a parent live in varied arrangements, including living with foster parents, grandparents, and other relatives, as well as living in group quarters.

Data on the employment experience and other characteristics of youths are a product of the National Longitudinal Surveys program. Note that jobs such as baby-sitting or yard work done on an as-needed basis or for multiple employers are considered to be "freelance" jobs. An "employee" job is defined as an ongoing relationship with a particular employer. Additional information is available from "Youth employment in the United States," by Donna S. Rothstein, Monthly Labor Review, August 2001.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Family structure and employment of 15-year-olds on the Internet at (visited September 24, 2016).


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