Number of stay-at-home moms increasing
Stay-at-home moms are on the rise after decades of declining numbers.
“The share of mothers who do not work outside the home rose to 29 percent in 2012, up from a modern-era low of 23 percent in 1999,” according to a Pew Research Center report on social and demographic trends using an analysis of government data. “This rise over the past dozen years represents the reversal of a long-term decline in ‘stay-at-home’ mothers that had persisted for the last three decades of the 20th century.”
Mothers may be choosing to be at home with young children, or be out of the work force because they couldn’t find jobs or are disabled or away from the work force while attending school, according to the analysis.
“The economic ups and downs of the past decade likely influenced mothers’ decisions on whether to stay home or go to work. The share of mothers staying home with their children rose from 2000 to 2004, but the rise stopped in 2005, amid economic uncertainty that foreshadowed the official start of the Great Recession in 2007.”
In 2012, 6 percent of stay-at-home moms couldn’t find a job. “With incomes stagnant in recent years for all but the college-educated, less educated workers in particular may weigh the cost of child care against wages and decide it makes more economic sense to stay home.”
In regard to public opinion, Pew looked to a General Social Survey. In 1977, 49 percent of Americans agreed a working mother could establish just as warm and secure a relationshiop with her children as a stay-at-home mom. During the past six years, the percentage of Americans agreeing was at 70 percent or higher.
The Pew Research Center listed reasons for more mothers staying at home with their children as driven by demographic, economic and societal forces. In the mix, the center stated, is rising immigration and a downturn in women’s labor force participation. All those factors, the center determined are “set against a backdrop of continued public ambivalence about the impact of working mothers on young children.”
In surveys of public opinions, 60 percent of Americans said children are better off when a parent stays home. In the survey, 35 percent said children are just as well off with working parents.