The share of stay-at-home mothers has risen since 2000 among married mothers with working husbands and single mothers. Whether married, single or cohabiting, each group of stay-at-home mothers has a demographic profile distinctly different from that of their working counterparts—and also different from each other’s. No matter what their marital status, mothers at home are younger and less educated than their working counterparts. Among all stay-at-home mothers in 2012, about four-in-ten (42%) were younger than 35. This compares with roughly a third (35%) of working mothers. Half (51%) of stay-at-home mothers care for at least one child age 5 or younger, compared with 41% of working mothers.
Fully 49% have a high school diploma or less, compared with 30% of working mothers. In addition, stay-at-home mothers are less likely than working mothers to be white (51% are white, compared with 60% of working mothers) and more likely to be immigrants (33% vs. 20%). The overall rise in the share of U.S. mothers who are foreign born, and rapid growth of the nation’s Asian and Latino populations, may account for some of the recent increase in the share of stay-at-home mothers.
Stay-at-home fathers, while not the focus of this report, represent a small but growing share5 of all stay-at-home parents.
Here is a look at the numbers:
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