According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. The share was just 11% in 1960.
These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.
The income gap between the two groups, however, is quite large. The median total family income of married mothers who earn more than their husbands was nearly $80,000 in 2011, well above the national median of $57,100 for all families with children, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mother.
Demographers say the change is all but irreversible and that it will bring added attention to child care policies as well as government safety nets.
According to Bev Anderson, Executive Director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers, “There has always been a need for quality child care in America. However, this recent study proves that the need has never been greater.”
“Wisconsin’s legislators have taken this issue of having quality child care in our state seriously in recent years by creating the YoungStar quality child care rating. This rating sets a consistent standard for child care quality, while evaluating and rating child care providers, which in turn helps parents choose the best child care for their children.
“However, we also need them to address the fact that the income gap of families led by a single mother is so great that these moms need the support of Wisconsin Shares to help them be able to enroll in quality child care centers. The Wisconsin Shares reimbursement rates for providers have been frozen for over seven years!
“How many things are you paying the exact same cost for that you did in 2006? Over the past seven years, our centers have experienced increased heating and electricity bills, increased food costs and increased staff costs. It is imperative for Wisconsin’s legislators to recognize this so we can continue to provide low-income families with the quality child care all families need and deserve.”
Ebenezer Child Care Centers would like to encourage all working families to email your elected leaders encouraging them to increase the funding to early child care programs. You can find the contact information for your legislator at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/Pages/waml.aspx.