Mothers are breadwinners in record 40% of U.S. households: Study
Share Now on:
4 in 10 households in America have mothers as the principal breadwinner, compared to about 1 in 10 in 1960. The data, as reported by Pew Research, shows that two groups of women are driving this trend from opposite sides of the economic spectrum.
The study looks at moms who are either the sole or primary source of income for their families.
“[In] one group, the mothers are married and they make more money than their husbands,” says Wendy Wang, lead author of the study.
Married women were breadwinners in 15 percent of the households surveyed in 2011. In 1960, that number was 4 percent.
“They’re more educated than their husbands and their family income is about $80,000 a year,” Wang says.
Contrast that to the second group: Single moms. They’re breadwinners for a 25 percent of families in the U.S., up from 7 percent in 1960.
And yet, “for single mothers the median income was only about $23,000,” Wang says. That’s less than half of national median family income. Wang says there’s no clear cut storyline here.
While married breadwinning moms out-earn their male counterparts. More single moms are leading households and that means more families are slipping into poverty.
Marketplace is on a mission.
We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.
Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?