Poll: Record Number of Women Are Breadwinners

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Women are becoming the sole or primary breadwinners in their families at a record rate, as a new study found that 40 percent of households with children are headed financially by mothers.

This is an increase from just 11 percent in 1960, when the majority of women stayed at home and raised children.

The majority of these mothers are single, but there is a growing number of mothers who are married and bring in more money than their husbands.

"This change is just another milestone in the dramatic transformation we have seen in family structure and family dynamics over the past 50 years or so," Kim Parker, associate director with the Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project, said. 

"Women's roles have changed, marriage rates have declined - the family looks a lot different than it used to. The rise of breadwinner moms highlights the fact that, not only are more mothers balancing work and family these days, but the economic contributions mothers are making to their households have grown immensely."

Most of the growth in income for women has come form increased rates of higher education and the fact that they make up nearly half of the American workforce.

The economy is also the reason, as manufacturing, construction jobs and other jobs held mainly by men have become less available. 

Marriage rates have also fallen to record lows, as 40 percent of births now occur out of wedlock. Most of these mothers are low-income and have low education.

There are 13.7 million households with women as breadwinners, and of those, 5.1 million are married. About 8.6 million of those are single.

For single mothers, the average yearly income is $23,000, while married couples earn an average of $80,000.

Andrew Cherlin, professor of sociology, predicts that the growing number of breadwinning mothers will result in a growing favoritism for jobs with family-friendly work policies.

"Many of our workplaces and schools still follow a male-breadwinner model, assuming that the wives are at home to take care of child care needs," he said.

"Until we realize that the breadwinner-homemaker marriage will never again be the norm, we won't provide working parents with the support they need."

Sources: Daily Mail, NY Times