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Volume 173: debated on Tuesday 5 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women have children under five years; how many of these women work; what the estimated demand for nurseries is; and how many women who do not go to work place their children in nurseries.

Not all the information requested is centrally available but such data as can be provided are as follows:

Table 1
Great Britain
per cent.per cent.
Percentage of women with children under 5 years1717
Sample base (women aged 16 to 59)7,4787,326
Table 2
Great Britain
per cent.per cent.
Percentage of women, with children under 5, who went out to work Full time911
Part time2425
Total going out to work13336
Sample base (women aged 16 to 59 with child(ren) aged 0 to 41,2381,281
1 Includes a few cases for which hours of work were not given.


1. Table 1 shows that, in 1986 and 1988, 17 per cent. of all women of working age had at least one child aged under five years. Table 2 gives the percentages of these women who, in the same years, were working full time or part time. The data are taken from the General Household Survey, which obtains information from a sample of private households, and are therefore subject to sampling variability.

2. 1988 is the most recent year in which the survey carried questions on day care for children under 5. It showed that 6 per cent. of children under five whose mothers did not go out to work attended a day nursery. This percentage is based on 1,105 children covered by the survey sample, some of whom would be from the same family. The percentage of non-working mothers of children under five whose children attended a day nursery is not available.

3. No information is available on the demand for nurseries.