The relationship between women's domestic labor and employment in the paid labor force is central to current debates about gender inequities in occupations and incomes. Recent studies of gender differences in commuting argue that women reduce the journey to work to accommodate the demands of family responsibilities. The empirical evidence, however, is mixed. Equal numbers of studies have reported significant andinsignificant relationships between average commuting times and various measures of domestic responsibilities. Few of these studies have examined the implications of parenthood and, particularly, single parenthood, for the commuting patterns of women from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Women who are single parents may work closer to home than other women because of their substantial domestic responsibilities. On the other hand, as sole wage earners, single parents may travel long times to obtain better paid employment. Using information about a sample of women in the New York Consolidated Metropolitan Area, we compared the average commuting times of black, Hispanic, and white women from single and two-parent households. The presence and ages of children significantly reduced all women's commuting times, although the effects of parenthood were muted for minority women. Single mothers commuted longer than married mothers, but the size of the disparity depended upon a woman's racial/ethnic background and place of residence. All single mothers commuted shorter times in the suburbs than at the center, but the differences were greatest for minority women living in the suburbs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Urban Studies