The links between women’s employment and children at home: Variations in low- and middle-income countries by world region

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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As fertility declines in low- and middle-income countries, the time women devote to childbearing and rearing may also be reduced. This shift has been described as one of the positive consequences of the demographic transition, as it opens opportunities for women to pursue educational and employment opportunities that were previously constrained by the demands of bearing and raising children. We estimate the numbers of children residing at home (with their mother) for women in 58 countries in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. We then examine the association between women’s employment and having children at home. Finally, we assess trends over recent decades in the relationship between employment and childbearing, and differences in this relationship by mother’s occupation. We find a negative association between women’s employment and having children at home; this association varies substantially by world region, age of child, and mother’s occupation.