Great new Pew Research study showing the progress women are making in gender equality! Kudos too to the men who are willing to adapt to ever-changing gender and family roles. View the full study and its findings at: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/05/29/breadwinner-moms/
Mothers Are the Sole or Primary Provider in Four-in-Ten Households with Children; Public Conflicted about the Growing Trend
Chapter 1: Overview
A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.
These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.1
The income gap between the two groups is quite large. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mother.2
The groups differ in other ways as well. Compared with all mothers with children under age 18, married mothers who out-earn their husbands are slightly older, disproportionally white and college educated. Single mothers, by contrast, are younger, more likely to be black or Hispanic, and less likely to have a college degree.
The growth of both groups of mothers is tied to women’s increasing presence in the workplace. Women make up almost of half (47%) of the U.S. labor force today, and the employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011.3
The impact the recession may have had on this trend is unclear.4 However, a Pew Research Center survey conducted in November 2012 found that mothers’ views about whether and how much they would like to work had changed significantly since 2007 (before the recession officially began). The share of mothers saying their ideal situation would be to work full time increased from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012. And the share saying they would prefer not to work at all fell from 29% to 20%.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the public remains of two minds about the gains mothers have made in the workplace–most recognize the clear economic benefits to families, but many voice concerns about the toll that having a working mother may take on children or even marriage. About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed. At the same time, two-thirds say it has made it easier for families to live comfortably.
While the vast majority of Americans (79%) reject the idea that women should return to their traditional roles,5 the new Pew Research survey finds that the public still sees mothers and fathers in a different light when it comes to evaluating the best work-family balance for children.
About half (51%) of survey respondents say that children are better off if a mother is home and doesn’t hold a job, while just 8% say the same about a father.
Data for this report are mainly from Pew Research analysis of multiple years of Census Bureau data as well as a recent Pew Research survey conducted by landline and cellular telephone April 25-28, 2013, among a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. More detailed information about the data sources can be found in Appendix 2.