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More and more, it's moms who are bringing home the bacon. A new study by Pew Research Center, via NBC News, finds that in almost a quarter of American families, Mom's income surpasses Dad's. When you look at all US households, including those who are unmarried, 40% have a woman as the leading or single breadwinner.
This is the highest percentage in history, and a sharp contrast to just 11 percent in 1960, according to US Census Data. Among married women, the number was just 4 percent.
This is a reflection of trends both encouraging and troubling. On one hand, educated women at the top are closing the wage gap. But there also more single moms than ever, and many of them are struggling to make it. The income disparity between the two breadwinner mom groups is vast. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was almost $80,000 in 2011 -- nearly four times the $23,000 median for single mom-led families.
The survey also asked about attitudes toward women earning more, and the results were mixed. Although many families enjoy the benefits of two incomes, they also worry about the family and marriage trade-offs involved in both parents working. 51% of survey respondents think that children are better off if mom stays at home, although just 8% say the same about Dad. When respondents were asked if it's good for a marriage if a husband earns more than his wife, 28% agreed but 63% disagree.
The study noted that although women are now educated as well (if not better than) their male counterparts, dads still make more than moms 75% of the time. In other words, these numbers are promising but there's still a parent ceiling.