Image from Wikipedia by Vera Kratochvil.
By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News
A new report has found that total family income is about $2,000 higher when mothers, not fathers, are the primary breadwinners. The median income of families who have mom as the primary breadwinner is also $10,000 higher than when the husband and wife make the same amount of money.
According to data collected by the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of U.S. homes with children have mothers who serve as the primary or sole source of income.
The report shows the number is up drastically from the 1960’s, when the share was just 11 percent. Today, women make up almost half of the labor force, and the number of working moms has grown.
However, only 37-percent of homes where mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners belong to married mothers, while the majority are single-parent homes (63 percent). And the gap between the two is quite large: the married women had a median family income of $80,000 in 2011, while the single moms had median family incomes of $23,000.
The mothers who out-earn their husbands are disproportionately white, college educated and tend to be slightly older according to the study, while the single moms are younger, minority women without college degrees.
In addition to looking at the number of female breadwinners, Pew also asked for people’s opinions about women’s growing role in the workplace.
Of those surveyed, roughly three-quarters of adults say working women makes it harder for parents to raise kids, and another 50-percent said it makes marriages harder.
Still, about two-thirds say working women makes it easier for families to live comfortably.
Nearly 80 percent of respondents say women shouldn’t return to “traditional roles,” but more than half said children are better off if a mother is at home with the children and does not hold a job. Only 8 percent of respondents said the same about men.