In 2012, there were more than 10 million low-income working families with children in the United States,and 39 percent were headed by working mothers. The economic conditions for these families have worsened since the onset of the recession; between 2007 and 2012, there was a four percentage-point increase in the share of female-headed working families that are low-income. Addressing challenges specific to these families will increase their economic opportunity, boost the economy and strengthen the fabric of communities across the nation.
Public policy can play a critical role in our future prosperity by reversing this trend and improving outcomes for low-income working mothers. Of particular interest is how state governments can best invest in helping working mothers gain the education, skills and supports necessary to become economically secure and provide a strong economic future for their children. In this brief, we highlight the latest data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and recommend state government policies and actions that would facilitate the economic advancement of female-headed, low-income working families with children under age 18.