The Third Career: Revisiting the Home vs. Work Choice in Middle Age

By Milica Z. Bookman | Go to book overview

Appendix II
Empirical Overview: Women with Choices in America and in the Sample

Statistics are crucial for providing an insight into the way things are and the way in which they operate. As a result of their descriptive value, selected statistics pertaining to women with choices are introduced to provide the framework for this study.

In 1994, there were 260 million people residing in the United States of which 51.2% were women (some 133.5 million). 1 Of these, 24.9 million women were between the ages of 40 and 55 years (amounting to some 25.3% of all women). Within this age category, 73.4% were married, 15.9% were divorced, and 3.4% were widowed. 2

Out of the total female civilian labor force of 50.3 million, 33 million are between the ages of 35 and 64 years. While the overall participation rate of American females is 66.6%, it is highest in the 35-44 age bracket (77.1% of those are employed), followed by the 45-54 age bracket (74.6%), and is the lowest in the 55-64 age bracket (48.9%). The labor force participation rate is lower for married than for single women, irrespective of their age bracket (for example, among women aged 45 to 54, single women's labor force participation rate is 68.8% while that of married women is 61.90%).

However, it would be misleading to think that it is only the younger middle- aged women who are active in the economy. In fact, about 80% of the nearly three million women aged 50-60 who are college educated are presently in the workforce. Of these, nearly three-quarters hold full-time jobs. 3 Employment among women without college degrees in the 50-60 age bracket has reached 8.1 million women (65% of the age group, up from 54% in 1984).

Married middle-aged women living in households with gross assets over $600,000 total 3.4 million, and a breakdown of women holders of those assets reveals that 1.4 million women have gross assets of that amount or more. 4

Taking into consideration the middle-aged population of women, coupled with data on employment, it is estimated that there might be some 3-5 million women across the country who fit the profile of women with choices.

-193-

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The Third Career: Revisiting the Home vs. Work Choice in Middle Age
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Part I REALITIES xix
  • Chapter 1: The Profile of Middle-Aged Women with Choices 1
  • Chapter 2: Evolving Expectations of Women with Choices 17
  • Part II INCENTIVES 43
  • Chapter 3 the Transformation of Aspirations 45
  • Notes 60
  • Chapter 4: The Redefinition of Leisure 63
  • Chapter 5: The Reevaluation of Volunteer Work 79
  • Part III CONDITIONS 89
  • Chapter 7: The Accommodating Work Environment 101
  • Part IV CAPACITIES 119
  • Chapter 8: Advantages to Be Harnessed 121
  • Chapter 9: Obstacles to Be Overcome 137
  • Part V BENEFITS 155
  • Chapter 10 Social Benefits: the Economic Contribution of Women with Choices 157
  • Notes 177
  • Chapter 11: Individual Benefits 179
  • Appendix I Method 189
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix II Empirical Overview: Women with Choices in America and in the Sample 193
  • Notes 197
  • Appendix III The Survey 199
  • Selected Bibliography 211
  • Index 215
  • About the Author 219
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