Wall Street Journal 8 April 2014
After decades of decline, the share of mothers who stay home with their children has steadily risen over the last several years, a new report has found.
In 2012, 29% of all mothers with children under age 18 stayed at home, a figure that has steadily risen since 1999 when 23% of mothers were stay-at-home, the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday. The share of stay-at-home moms had been dropping since 1967, when about half of all moms stayed home.
Pew attributed the rise of stay-at-home mothers to a mix of demographic, economic and societal factors. The vast majority of married stay-at-home mothers, 85%, say they are doing so by choice in order to care for their families. That rate is much lower for single stay-at-home mothers, at 41%, and cohabitating mothers, at 64%.
The report also found a drop in women working because of the recession, a trend that has lingered as the economy recovers. Pew cited an increase in immigrant families, for whom it is more common to have a mother stay at home with her children, and an increase in the number of women who said they were disabled and unable to work.
A companion public opinion survey by Pew, from 2013, found that mothers are much more likely than fathers to have reduced work hours, take a significant amount of time off, quit a job or, by a small margin, turn down a promotion in order to care for a child or family member. Pew said 42% of mothers said they had reduced their work hours to care for a child or family member, versus 28% of fathers.
A second Pew survey, taken this year, found most in the general public think that children are better off with a parent at home: 60% said children are better off with a parent at home, versus 35% who said kids are just as well off when parents work.