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More Moms Bringing Home the Bigger Bacon

Althea Chang
Big Data Download
More Moms Bringing Home the Bigger Bacon

Women make up more of the work force than they did in the 1960s, and since then, nearly four times as many are making more money than their husbands, according to recent research.

Women currently constitute 47 percent of the overall American work force, and in one in four households, women are the primary earners, according to analyses of census data by the Pew Research Center.

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"The family has just been transformed dramatically and this finding about ... the growing share of breadwinner moms is just sort of another milestone in that transformation," said Pew researcher Kim Parker on "Big Data Download."

But about 74 percent of adults say the growing number of moms working has made child rearing more challenging and half of adults surveyed said it makes marriages harder to succeed, according to a recent Pew survey of more than 1,000 American households.

Many of the households in which women are the primary earners are those run by single mothers, Pew Research found. And many Americans surveyed think the increase in the number of women who are single mothers is a "big problem."

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About 64 percent of those surveyed considered the rising number of single mothers a "big problem," 19 percent considered it a "small problem" and 13 percent considered it "not a problem," the survey found.

But single mothers' incomes are significantly lower on average than the average incomes among all households with children. The average income for all households with kids is $57,100 per year.

Meanwhile, mothers who were never married make about $17,400 and mothers who are divorced, separated or windowed make about $29,000 annually, according to Pew's research.

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And the overall number of mothers saying their ideal situation would be to work full time instead of part time has risen since the recession. About 32 percent of mothers wanted to work full time in 2012 versus 20 percent in 2007, Pew Research found.

"I think that companies that are gearing their marketing towards families need to assess the fact that the family is no longer the sort of 1950's-era married mother and father raising the children," Parker said.

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