Report | Wages Incomes and Wealth

An economy that puts families first: Expanding the social contract to include family care

Briefing Paper #190

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In two-thirds of families with children, both parents work. A typical child today is just as likely to live in a family with a working mother as with a working father. These facts herald a startling change that has occurred over a remarkably short period of human history—in only a few decades we have experienced a revolution in how we raise our children. Yet it is a revolution with which our government and public policies have not kept pace. Parents have made enormous changes in their lives with little help or support, and the strains are showing. Two-thirds of working parents feel they do not have enough time to spend with their families (Gallinsky, Bond, and Hill 2004), and 1.3 million children below the sixth grade (age 11) spend at least some time each day in self care (Afterschool Alliance 2003).


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