The Rise of Breadwinning Moms

The Rise of Breadwinning Moms

More 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.


Get started with a free financial assessment.

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.

RELATED: Best Places Around the Globe to Be a Mom


Financial planning made simple.

Get your free financial assessment.

Related Tags

Get the latest in your inbox.

Subscription failed!

You're Now Subscribed!