In a quarter of American families, working mothers earn more money than their husbands--the highest level in history. Though mothers are often have at least as much education as their husbands, a majority of fathers still earn more than their wives. But the changes are still striking, as NBC News reports:
Overall, women -- including those who are unmarried -- are now the leading or solo breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households, compared with just 11 percent in 1960, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau analyzed by Pew.
That's both good news and bad news, depending on which end of the scale you examine. At the top level, educated women are catching up with men in the workforce. But at the bottom rungs, there are more single mothers than ever and most of them are living near the poverty line.
"It's a long-term trend since the '60s that the breadwinner moms have gone up," said Wendy Wang, a Pew research associate and the lead author of the report.
Of the married women making more money than their spouses, 71 percent of the husbands are working and they have a median family income of $80,000, according to 2011 numbers.
In 1960, only 4 percent of married moms were making more than their husbands; now it's 23 percent. That translates into 5.1 million married "breadwinner moms."
Of the women making more than their husbands, 49 percent have a college degree or higher and 65 percent are white. Most are also in their peak earning years -- 67 percent of these women are between the ages of 30 and 50.
Image: Working mother, via Shutterstock