The Ann Romney stay-at-home debate from last week prompted a smart reporter from The New York Times to look into census data to find out who the modern stay-at-home moms really are? Are they rich ladies with husbands making big bucks? Or are they women who can’t afford day care or are they traditional women who want to be home?
“…65 percent of married women who stay home with children under 18 years old live in households that earn less than $75,000 a year, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau….”
“Stay-at-home mothers are younger, less educated and more likely to be Hispanic than they were in previous generations, and perhaps have a more traditional view of family and more limited job skills than other women these days, according to a Census Bureau report that analyzed changes in stay-at-home motherhood from 1969 to 2009. Eighteen percent of stay-at-home mothers lack a high school degree, compared with 7 percent of women in the work force. And black women were about half as likely as white women to be a stay-at-home mothers.”
“Across the country, 70 percent of married women over the age of 25 with children work outside the home. The median income of those households is about $87,700, compared with $64,000 for households where the mother stays at home, according to an analysis by Andrew Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York. “The biggest difference is education,” he said.”
“According to the Census Bureau’s 40-year review, ‘Those with the least education are now the most likely to stay out of the labor force as stay-at-home mothers.’ “
This totally makes sense to me. Daycare is very expensive. You have to be able to make enough money to make it worth your while to pay for someone else to care for your kids. I didn’t end up teaching spring quarter for the university because they wanted me to teach in the afternoon and I would have had to pay for childcare. It doesn’t pay enough to cover childcare costs. So I totally get this.
It also makes sense that the families where the mom works has a higher median income — duh because she’s working and adding to their income.
Does it surprise you that the modern stay-at-home mom is younger and less educated? Does this fit the stay-at-home moms you know? How much does a “traditional” view of the family affect whether a woman stays at home or is it mostly an economic decision?