Stay-at-Home Moms on the Rise in the US

pew_momAfter 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?


8 thoughts on “Stay-at-Home Moms on the Rise in the US”

  1. I’m a stay at home mom, because I’m a military wife with 3 going on 4 kids. It’s easier on the kids to have 1 parent always around when the other is gone so often. Plus childcare for just 1 child now is insanely pricey let alone 3 or 4 kids. Wouldn’t be worth working. I miss it, I do but not worth it by any means.

  2. I’m a stay at home mom/ work very part time. It was not by choice. I’m currently looking for better employment, but so far I haven’t found something that would pay enough to be worth it after paying for child care. I “chose” to stay home in that I wanted a child, but my career field starting pay wouldn’t cover a nanny even if I wanted one.

  3. There will be plenty of time to refocus on a career later if I choose . Right now my focus is my family. I have a Master’s degree and had an established career, but my family is more important. I firmly believe young children, especially infants, thrive when close to their mothers, and I don’t want to hand over the important job of raising my child to a daycare provider. I am fortunate that I am in a field where I can work minimal hours on a contract basis if I choose to maintain skills and keep my resume current, and I understand that is not an option for all women. I hope that one day our culture recognizes the value of motherhood and family and allows for better balance as young families are growing, or is more understanding of time away from the workplace to focus on a more important job.

  4. I had children because I wanted to raise them. I don’t intend to pay other people to do a job I can do just as well and probably better. I have had periods of time when where I have worked part-time while my kids were at school because I wanted to, but there aren’t many jobs that provide enough benefits to compensate for the hassle and expense of having 2 working parents.

  5. When we started a family over six years ago, we decided that for me to stay home was the only option we wanted for our children. We are very fortunate and also made several sacrifices to be able to make it happen. There were other minor reasons such as, daycare costs but not wantingaanyone else raising our kids was the main reason.

  6. I left a promising career in 2001 when my children were 3 & 1 years old because our oldest needed to be a stay-at-home child. He was learning all sorts of things in daycare — kicking, hitting, spitting, biting — and it had to stop. It was financially constricting, but we figured that I could always go back to work. We were all happier and healthier with the kids out of daycare and me at home. Our oldest was eventually diagnosed with ADD and staying home with him was the best thing we could have done for him. Thirteen years later and I am looking to return to the work force. The increased cost of healthcare, gas, etc. along with the hope of helping the kids pay for college (and avoiding a impoverished retirement) has me looking to return to work is what is an extremely challenging job market. No regrets, but I wish the financial economy were more favorable to ALL families so kids could stay home with their parents.

  7. I’m a SAHM by choice. My youngest starts school next fall, but I’m not going back to work. At this point then extra income I earned would mostly be eaten up by before and after school childcare and summer childcare as well expenses like commuting. Add to that the time crunch and stress it would put on all of us, and it’s just not worth it.

  8. I stay at home by choice. Honestly, if the reasons were economic, I’d be working. It’s a struggle sometimes to live on one income, but we made this decision based on lifestyle not money.

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