Mom Is The Breadwinner, But Is The Family Ready?
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.
What about Dad?The last five decades have seen a dramatic shift for American fathers. After providing the sole or primary source of income for 89 percent of American families in 1960, they have since seen this share eroded by both single motherhood -- which is more than three times more common today than it was in 1960 -- and higher relative earnings for women. While only 15 percent of wives out-earned their husbands in 2011, according to Pew, that figure was a mere 4 percent in 1960.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV