Work-Hour Trajectories and Associated Socioeconomic Characteristics among Single-Mother Families

Chi Fang Wu, Yu Ling Chang, Emily Rhodes, Salma Musaad, Woojin Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although social work research has paid substantial attention to employment patterns among low-income single mothers after welfare reform, little is known about their work-hour trajectories over time. This study uses group-based trajectory modeling to analyze the work-hour trajectories among low-income single mothers in the United States (N = 870). Only approximately two-fifths (41.9 percent) of participants in the sample had stable employment. About 18 percent did not work throughout the study period. Yet several groups experienced changes in working patterns over time: Increasing hours (20.7 percent), decreasing then increasing hours (11.3 percent), and decreasing hours (8.4 percent). This study uses a generalized linear mixed model to determine the factors associated with change in work hours over time. Significant factors include marital status, high school completion, race, citizenship, homeownership, child care arrangement, income support program participation, work disability, age of youngest child, age of the mother, state unemployment rate, and state minimum wage. These findings have important policy implications for targeting supports to diverse needs of low-income single-mother families to promote employment stability and economic improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Work Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 7 2020


  • employment
  • group-based trajectory modeling
  • poverty
  • single-mother families
  • work-hour trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Work-Hour Trajectories and Associated Socioeconomic Characteristics among Single-Mother Families'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this