The Rise of the Single Mother and of Women Out-Earning Men
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, and much sorrow over the demise of the 1950ish nuclear family and the Ward Cleaver type father, among Christians who have made an idol out of the Culture Wars and social conservativism who see these news stories:
- In a record-breaking 40 percent of U.S. households with children under 18, mothers are either the primary or sole breadwinner, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the analysis, the share of primary breadwinning moms was just 11 percent in 1960.
….When it comes to American sentiment on single mothers, some 64 percent feel that the growing trend is a “big problem.” Young people, however, are less concerned about the trend than older adults. More whites are also likely to see the growing trend of single mothers as a “big problem” and men and women are equally divided on the issue.
….Other highlights of the analysis point out that the total family income is higher when the mother, not the father, is the primary breadwinner; married women are increasingly better educated than their husbands and most people reject the idea that it is bad for a marriage if the wife out-earns her husband.
- Everson and women like her are part of a shift in American society. An Associated Press-WE tv poll of people younger than 50 found that more than 2 in 5 unmarried women without children – or 42 percent – would consider having a child on their own without a partner, including more than a third, or 37 percent, who would consider adopting solo.
The poll, which addressed a broad range of issues on America’s changing family structures, dovetails with a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau that single-motherhood is on the rise: It found that of 4.1 million women who’d given birth in 2011, 36 percent were unmarried at the time of the survey, an increase from 31 percent in 2005. And among mothers 20-24, the percentage was 62 percent, or 6 in 10 mothers.
…Shermeka Austin, a 23-year-old student in Warren, Mich., feels the same way. “That would not be a choice for me, being a single parent,” Austin says. She hopes to get married and have children one day, but first, she says, she wants to focus on her goal of opening her own bakery. Once she achieves that, she’d be happy to make sacrifices in order to have kids. In the poll, about three-quarters (76 percent) of women without children said that it was important for them to reach certain career goals before they start a family.
Although 42 percent of unmarried women said they would consider single-parenthood, compared with 24 percent of men, answers varied greatly as to the ways they’d consider going about it. Thirty-seven percent of women said they’d consider adopting solo (compared to 19 percent of men), about a third of women – 31 percent – said they’d consider freezing their eggs, and 27 percent would be willing to use artificial insemination and donor sperm.
Here’s an editorial or two about the news stories above:
- The author and historian inserts some reality and common sense into a debate marred by panic about gender norms