What Are More Than 85 Million Moms Doing? The Census Has Answers


According to the latest U.S. Census data, there are 85.4 million moms living in the United States. That’s a whole lotta mamas!

What are we all up to? The census has answers!

For starters, moms aren’t exactly an endangered species, but there are fewer of us than there were a generation ago. Today, 82 % of women ages 40 to 44 have given birth. In 1976, that number was 90%.

Not only are fewer of us having kids, we’re having fewer kids. The total fertility rate has fallen to 2 births per woman, a decline of 4% since 2008. The population is still expanding, but largely through immigration. Women with graduate degrees have a higher level of fertility than any other level of education, having 71 births per 1000 women.

A little over 4 million of us gave birth in 2009, nearly all of us on hospitals. Only 42,746 births took place in homes or birth centers. While most of the new moms were married, 38% were single.

Once we got those babies home, most of us went back to work. About 61% of new moms are employed, to be precise. In total, there are roughly 5 million stay-at-home moms, a number that has shrunk as the economic crisis pushed many moms back into the work force.

All these numbers add up to a picture of the typical American mom: she works, she has two kids, she has her babies in hospitals, she’s married and her spouse also works. How much do you resemble this typical mom? Do the Census statistics describe you, or are you off the charts?

Photo: Ann Gordon