When a Pew Research study revealed last week that women earn the primary or sole income in 40 percent of U.S. households with children, it marked the latest blow to a species whose glory years may be long gone: the American male breadwinner.
In 1960, only 11 percent of women were the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, according to Pew. But today's female breadwinners consist of a considerable percentage of both single mothers (63 percent) and wives who out-earn their husbands (37 percent) -- two groups whose numbers have spiked over the last half-century.
Mom's changing role
It remains unclear, however, whether men and women are fully prepared for this shift. Pew data reveal some seemingly contradictory stances among respondents on whether the rise in breadwinner moms is good for American families.
While another Pew study from 2012 indicated that 79 percent of the respondents reject the notion that women should return to their traditional motherly roles, the figures from the breadwinner study show that 51 percent of respondents feel that children are better off when the mother stays home and doesn't work. Only 8 percent said the same for fathers.The topic of single motherhood received its own mixed response, with 64 percent saying the trend toward single motherhood is a "big problem." But this marked a decrease from 2007, when 71 percent indicated the same opinion.