Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 224–234 | Cite as

Motherhood and Earnings: Wage Variability by Major Occupational Category and Earnings Level

  • Christian Nsiah
  • Ron DeBeaumontEmail author
  • Annette Ryerson
Original Paper


Prior research has indicated that women with children earn less than their childless counterparts. In addition, recent research has found that the motherhood wage penalty may be most severe for low-income earners. Using panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979), we test two hypotheses. First, are there occupational differences in the motherhood wage penalty? Second, are there occupational differences in the relative wage penalty experienced by low and high wage mothers? Our results indicated that mothers in sales occupations are penalized at a significantly higher rate than mothers in non-sales occupations, while mothers in blue-collar occupations were penalized the least. Furthermore, the wage cost of motherhood was greatest amongst the highest earners in sales occupations.


Motherhood wage penalty Mother friendly occupations Sales occupations 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Nsiah
    • 1
  • Ron DeBeaumont
    • 1
    Email author
  • Annette Ryerson
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Business and TechnologyBlack Hills State UniversitySpearfishUSA
  2. 2.Department of Business, Accounting, and EconomicsCarroll CollegeHelenaUSA

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