Employers who lay off a single mother may also be downsizing her child’s opportunities in life, a newsuggests.
For the study in the most recent issue of the peer-reviewed American Journal of Sociology, researchers compared long-term educational and psychological outcomes for the children of single mothers who lost their jobs with those for children of steadily employed single mothers. They found that children of single mothers were 15 percent less likely to complete high school if their mothers lost their jobs during the children’s first 17 years of life.
That group was also 24 percent less likely than children of steadily employed single mothers to attend college and 33 percent less likely to graduate from college.
Authors Jennie Brand and Juli Simon Thomas of the University of California, Los Angeles, said the findings “suggest we should be doing more to ensure that these children don’t get lost in the shuffle.”
They based their findings on nationally representative, longitudinal data on more than 6,000 mothers of about 11,500 children. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting the data on the mothers in 1979 and on the children in 1986.
A version of this article appeared in the May 14, 2014 edition of Education Week as Unemployment