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For The First Time In History Moms Are Primary Breadwinners In Nearly Half of U.S. Households

mom

More women are in the workforce than ever before so the numbers shouldn’t come as a surprise…And yet I was surprised.

For the first time in history moms are now the primary providers in 40%  of U.S. households with children. That’s compared to just 11% in 1960. The new numbers are based on a study of the U.S. Census Bureau conducted by the Pew Research Center.

These moms are the sole or primary source of income for households with children younger than 18, the study finds.  The moms include 5.1 million (37%) married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) single mothers. The median family income for the first group was $79,800 in 2011, compared with $23,000 for the single mothers.

The news is exciting for myriad reasons including more attention on workplace flexibility for moms and children growing up in a society that is learning not to place expectations on someone because of their gender. I know my husband and I defy pretty much every gender stereotype there is. I’ve always made more money than him. He likes to cook and does so more than I do. He does laundry just as much as I do. I know more about car repairs than he does. Our roles in our home aren’t based on our gender, they are based on our likes and skills and I believe this is how it should be.

Apparently many Americans aren’t sure they agree. As USA Today reports, according to a Pew Research Center survey of 1,003 U.S. adults in April, 28% say they agree it is generally better for a marriage if a husband earns more than his wife.

Joshua Coleman, a psychologist in the San Francisco Bay Area, tells USA Today it’s important for husbands and wives to communicate their feelings about fatherhood, motherhood and gender roles.  “Men might feel vulnerable that they are not earning enough money, while women might feel guilty that they are not spending enough time with their children.”

What do you think? Is it better for a marriage if the husband earns more than his wife?

Top photo credit: focusonthefamily.com

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