After decades of decline the number of stay-at-home moms is on the rise in the US, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The report suggests that this trend is economic, but does not clarify whether women working from home for external companies, or those running their own businesses in the home, where included in the “stay-at-home” category.
The broad category of “stay-at-home” mothers includes not only mothers who say they are at home in order to care for their families, but also those who are at home because they are unable to find work, are disabled or are enrolled in school.
The largest share consists of “traditional” married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands. They made up roughly two-thirds of the nation’s 10.4 million stay-at-home mothers in 2012. In addition to this group, some stay-at-home mothers are single, cohabiting or married with a husband who does not work.
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. The increase in both number and share eventually resumed: From 2010 to 2012, the share of stay-at-home mothers (29%) was three percentage points higher than in 2008 (26%), at the height of the recession.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, why did you make that choice? Was it economically influenced?