Work from home parent income stats
March 13, 2007 3:57 PM   Subscribe

What are typical annual earnings for work-from-home parents who do not use childcare services?

I am looking for annual income statistics for work-from-home/work-at-home parents, especially those who do not engage full-time daycare or nanny services. I've searched Google and various government statistics, but I have not been able to find any information on typical earnings. This is probably because the search results are loaded with pages about earning an income.

In lieu of actual statistics, I can live with anecdotes. But, of course, some sort of report would hold more credibility. Thanks.
posted by acoutu to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Wow, you might need to pick a line of work, a regional area (The US is a huge place), and/or a gender for the parent who is staying home while working. I say this because a man doing legal consulting "from home" make quite a bit more than a woman stuffing envelopes. Maybe education level or some other parameter might help your search?
posted by bilabial at 4:22 PM on March 13, 2007

I would guess that the age of the child makes a difference too, would it not? It also matters if there is more than one child.
posted by etoile at 4:29 PM on March 13, 2007

Response by poster: These are good points.

I'm mostly doing this for as a point of comparison for myself, so that I set reasonable goals.

So, just going with myself, that would mean a woman with graduate education and a toddler. I'm a consultant based in Vancouver, Canada.

However, I am mostly interested in how much other work-frome-home parents make, as I sometimes think I push myself a little too hard. (I'm not looking for help in setting my personal goals -- I'm just curious about other people's earnings.)
posted by acoutu at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2007

Well you would think StatCan would have this info but a quick look at their site only pulled up two reports touching on the subject "Evolution of the Canadian workplace"(2001) and "Employment after childbirth"(1999). Probably the info you are looking for is there (with a lot of digging) or is a paid report. Info from the 2006 Census is slowly being released. An (American) book you may be interested in is The Two Income trap by Warren. Some is not applicable to Canadians but the overall reasoning of the book is universal.

I do not work from home (I joke I go to work as a recreation and I have been known to drag myself out of my sickbed to get some peace at work - yes, I do like my job) so I can not give you the exact personal info you need but when I went from working part-time ~$25,000/year to full-time at ~$50,000 with two preschool children needing babysitting I found the extra $$$ was quickly gobbled up by daycare, emergency babysitting, loss of pay when my children were too sick for daycare and a lot of convenience foods because I didn't have the energy to cook (and the state of my house...).

Now both my husband and I work part-time, opposite/flexible shifts and can usually trade off shifts at our respective workplaces when someone gets sick. And we are financially doing better and have a lot less stress and happier children. The downside is that our relationship is now mostly through email. We are very lucky to have this opportunity.
posted by saucysault at 5:45 PM on March 13, 2007

This might be better posted to one of the new parent websites? I have seen related questions on the discussions at
For an anecdotal response, my wife is at home full time looking after 3 kids, she works as a doula, but does not earn enough income to pay taxes.
I work at home 2 days a week and earn similar to when I was 5 days in the office.
posted by bystander at 5:47 PM on March 13, 2007

My wife and I have a 13 month old. We are both self employed. She has an office and a desk at home. I work at home. We have a sitter here twice a week 4 hours each day. Other than that, we trade off all of the childcare.

My wife's business is still looking for its first profit, so her income is zero. Mine went from a healthy six figures down to $40k last year. I took 6 months completely off when the baby was born. This year, so far, I'm putting in 20 - 30 hrs a week at about $75/hr. So my gross this year will probably be $60-100k.

I love all of the time I get to spend with our son. He's napping on my chest as I type this. It's easily worth the difference in income to be able to take long daytime hikes with him. Or take him on the train to the children's museum or zoo. As long as I'm making enough for us to cover expenses and save a little for a rainy day, I'm happy.

I figure that once all of the kids we have are in school, one of us can start working more full time.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 7:20 PM on March 13, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks. I've read the Two Income Trap, which I recommend to many others.

I didn't realize Babycentre had so many forums - thanks.

And thanks to those who shared their own experiences. I absolutely agree that I wouldn't give up staying at home.

FWIW, I've estimated that a nanny around here costs $30k in after tax dollars. That means you have to earn $45k a year, just to hire one. Then add on lunches out, networking, transportation, wardrobe, convenience foods & take out, etc, -- all in pre-tax dollars. It's easy to find yourself needing to earn $70k to $80k just to afford all that. So if you earn $1k a year (which would take $1500 or more to earn at a high tax bracket) tax-free, you're really earning more like $72k.

Of course, this assumes that you apply all these costs to one person's economic capacity. But it works for me. I like to say I earn a six-figure plus income. :)
posted by acoutu at 11:32 PM on March 14, 2007

There are so many factors here -- does one partner make enough so that the other can make less while taking more of the childcare or housework, or would a couple split everything 50/50? I'm not sure where you'd find your exact figures but reading about one-income living may at least provide some studies or stats on alternative work habits or work-life balance issues (check the notes in the back of these books of course). And a family on welfare could qualify under the terms you described (both at home, no childcare), so I'd think the stats could range far and wide.

I tend to do a lot of work on the weekend or evenings/early mornings, around our toddler's schedule. The alternate shifts of working seem to be par for the course for others of my friends who work from home as a couple.

We lived on one income for a year to see how it would be and were pleasantly surprised to learn that we didnt' miss the 2nd income all that much in terms of spending money (I mean on entertainment, clothes, etc). It means that when I take a break we aren't bumping up against our living budget. This keeps our stress level down considerably. It helps that I love to cook and that my husband is a tidy person -- we have less stress in those domestic areas than some might have.

You may also want to factor in different definitions of work -- working for a company vs working for yourself, with or without alternate streams of income that may be unrelated to the work itself.
posted by mdiskin at 4:47 PM on March 15, 2007

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