The Rise of Breadwinning Moms

Via LearnVest By Tom Anderson ~

bread winnersMore moms are making the most dough for their families.

For nearly four out of 10 U.S. households, women are the primary providers, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a record level of women who are financially supporting their kids.

“The share of households with children where there is a mother who is the sole or primary breadwinner is up about fourfold from 1960, when it was only 11%,” report co-author Kim Parker, associate director of Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, told USA Today.

Single vs. Married: How These Breadwinners Differ

Pew found two distinct groups of primary providers: single moms and married women who make more than their husbands.

The two groups differ vastly when it comes to money: In 2011, the median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000–that’s almost four times the $23,000 median total family income for households led by a single mom.

Further, the share of families led by a single mother has more than tripled from 7% in 1960 to 25% in 2011. And a growing segment of those single moms have never been married: Only 4% of single moms had never tied the knot in 1960, compared to 44% in 2011.

A Change in Education–and Perception

Another interesting finding from the Pew analysis? While most married couples with kids have a similar educational background, the share of couples in which the mother has attained a higher education than her spouse has risen from 7% in 1960 to 23% in 2011.

As more women take leading roles in their households, attitudes about marriage and work are also changing. In a 2012 Pew survey, 63% of people disagreed that it’s better for a marriage if a husband earns more than his wife. In a similar survey conducted in 1997, 40% agreed with that statement.

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