Does the Impact of Motherhood on Women’s Earnings Differ for Women Who Plan Their Transition Into Motherhood?

Jonathan Bearak , Guttmacher Institute
Anna Popinchalk, Guttmacher Institute
Kristen Burke
Selena Anjur-Dietrich, Guttmacher Institute

About a third of births are unintended, and it is unknown whether the impact of motherhood on employment, hours or wages is smaller for women who planned their transition into motherhood compared to those who did not. To explore this, we examine fixed-effects models to estimate labor market outcomes using panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979-2014. We find that the relationship between motherhood and employment is significantly more negative among white women who plan their transition into motherhood compared to those who have unplanned first births. Among those who remain employed, we find that those with planned births work fewer hours and have lower wages relative to those with unplanned births. These findings highlight the challenges women face as parents in the workforce and make a novel contribution to the large body of research that associates unplanned births with negative outcomes.

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 Presented in Session 33. Education, Employment, and Sexual and Reproductive Behavior