The number of mothers in the United States who stay at home is rising after decades of declining, according to a study released on Tuesday. In 2012, 29% of moms did not work outside the home, compared to 23% who did so in 1999. This news might seem surprising considering the can't-miss-it "Lean In" campaign from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and the fact that women made up 46.9% of the workforce in 2012. Are more working moms deciding to take a step back? Not so fast.
This upward trend is not necessarily the result of society reverting back to the old-fashioned view of traditional parental roles, but rather it's the result of the current economy and growing minority populations in the U.S. As NYTimes.com reports:
The report found that, in 2012, 6 percent of stay-at-home mothers said they stayed at home because they could not find a job, compared with just 1 percent who gave that answer in 2000. And it found that a third of stay-at-home mothers live in poverty, while 12 percent of working mothers live in poverty.
America's changing demographics might also play a role in the study's results. Asian and Latino mothers, two rapidly growing populations in the U.S., were more likely to stay at home with their children than white and black mothers.
Education level is also a factor, says the NYTimes:
The report found that less educated women were more likely to be stay-at-home mothers; 51 percent of mothers who had not completed high school did not work outside the home, while 21 percent of mothers who are college graduates stayed at home with their children. Just 5 percent of married stay-at-home mothers with working husbands have at least master's degrees and family incomes exceeding $75,000.
Whether choosing to stay home with your children is based on your financial situation, parenting philosophy, employment status, or heritage traditions, it's a personal decision. Ultimately, you know what's the best choice for you, your family, and your career path.
Are you thinking of staying at home? Use Parents.com's Stay At Home Calculator to find out if you can afford not to work. You could also find a happy medium and work part-time. Know that whatever decision you make will be the best choice for your family; and don't forget to consult your partner before making the final verdict.
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