15 Cities With the Fewest ‘Stay-at-Home’ Parents

Young girl at window waiting for parents
Canon Boy / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Smartest Dollar.

Schools around the country are grappling with the best way to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many school districts are starting the year virtually, while others opened with a hybrid approach that combines face-to-face instruction with online learning.

Even in areas where schools are open fully, many families will choose remote learning for their kids. Regardless of the specifics, millions of American children will spend at least some of their time learning from home this year.

According to the Pew Research Center, stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-fifth of U.S. parents, meaning 80% of parents are employed either full time or part time.

When considering households with children under 14, census data shows that more than 40% of families potentially lack an available parent to supervise the kids in the event of school closures. This means that as of 2018 (the most recent census data release), either both parents worked full time in two-parent families or the one parent worked full time in single-parent families.

The number of single parents has climbed steadily since 1950, and these parents are more likely to work full time than those in married or cohabiting-couple households. Among single-parent households with children under 14 years old, 57% have a full-time working parent. Among two-parent households, just 37% have both parents working full time.

Although many people now work from home due to the pandemic, juggling work while supervising children is no easy feat. Families with a non-full-time working parent are better positioned to handle the school year, whereas those without that luxury face unprecedented challenges.

To find the metropolitan areas with the most full-time working parents (and thus the fewest parents not working full time), researchers at Smartest Dollar, a review site for financial products and services, analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey.

The researchers ranked metros according to the share of households with children under 14 that potentially lack a parent to watch the kids (defined as either both parents working full time in two-parent families, or the one parent working full time in single-parent families). Researchers also calculated the number of married-couple households with both parents working, the number of single-parent households with a working parent, and the total number of households with kids under 14.

Here are the large metropolitan areas with the most full-time working parents.

15. Milwaukee

Milwaukee
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 45.1%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 43,574
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 18,860
  • Total households with kids under 14: 138,404
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.8

14. Hartford, Connecticut

The skyline of Hartford Connecticut, where median rents are relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 45.2%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 30,307
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 14,553
  • Total households with kids under 14: 99,246
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

13. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 45.6%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 38,604
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 23,395
  • Total households with kids under 14: 135,845
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

12. Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia
f11 photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 46%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 156,897
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 73,840
  • Total households with kids under 14: 501,415
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.8

11. Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 46.3%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 155,231
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 63,666
  • Total households with kids under 14: 472,971
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.8

10. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 46.4%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 63,581
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 25,426
  • Total households with kids under 14: 191,680
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.9

9. Cincinnati

Cincinnati
Anne Kitzman / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 46.5%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 55,224
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 29,006
  • Total households with kids under 14: 181,264
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.9

8. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. traffic with Capitol Building in background
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 47.1%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 175,153
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 63,972
  • Total households with kids under 14: 507,566
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

7. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee
Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 47.2%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 25,542
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 21,106
  • Total households with kids under 14: 98,730
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.8

6. Minneapolis

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Roger Siljander / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 47.8%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 122,817
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 36,851
  • Total households with kids under 14: 333,809
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.8

5. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
Randall Vermillion / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 48%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 56,136
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 26,222
  • Total households with kids under 14: 171,575
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

4. Louisville, Kentucky

A historic district of Louisville, Kentucky
Philip Rozenski / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 48.1%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 34,684
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 13,223
  • Total households with kids under 14: 99,597
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

3. Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 48.5%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 33,841
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 15,115
  • Total households with kids under 14: 100,893
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

2. Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 49.4%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 74,534
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 32,121
  • Total households with kids under 14: 215,702
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.7

1. St. Louis

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
KENNY TONG / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of households without a parent to watch the kids: 52%
  • Married-couple households with both parents working: 84,968
  • Single-parent households with a working parent: 41,283
  • Total households with kids under 14: 242,865
  • Average number of kids under 14 per household: 1.8

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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