Mothers’ Day is the same for a lot of people — take Mom out for dinner and give her a present, or at the very least give her a call and send her a bouquet of exorbitantly priced flowers. But despite all that, the moms we’re all celebrating today are all very different, and one of the key dividing lines between one American mom and another is whether they are working or not.
Here is how working moms and moms who stay at home differ from each other — who they are, how they live, and how they spend their time.
Working moms are more prevalent than stay-at-home moms…but stay-at-home moms are on the rise
Back in 1970, the US mom population was split nearly half and half between working and stay-at-home moms, according to data compiled by the Pew Research Center. Today, only 29 percent stay at home. However, the tide has shifted. A greater share of moms are stay-at-home today than in 2000. It’s not clear exactly what turned things around, but among the factors Pew has proposed are the recent recession and the rising cost of childcare.
Working moms are more educated
Educated, “opt-out” moms get their share of media attention, but in general, they’re the exception, not the rule. The more educated a mother, the more likely she is to be working. Nearly 80 percent of moms of kids under 18 with bachelor’s degrees or higher are working, compared to only around half of moms with less than a high school diploma.
Working moms are way less likely to live in poverty
Perhaps not much of a surprise — a working parent means more income, means a greater likelihood of being above the poverty line — but the difference between stay-at-home and working moms is vast on this one. More than one-third of stay-at-home moms live in poverty, compared to 12 percent of working moms. The problem is worse for certain subsets of stay-at-home moms: 88 percent of cohabiting stay-at-home moms and 71 percent of single stay-at-home moms live in poverty. Meanwhile, only 15 percent of married women with a husband who works live in poverty.
In addition, the share of stay-at-home moms in poverty has climbed dramatically, from 14 percent in 1970 to 34 percent in 2012.
Stay-at-home moms do more work around the house…but they also sleep more
Moms who stay at home also get nearly an hour more sleep and more than an hour more leisure time each day than their working-mom peers. However, they also do far more work around the house and spend more time with the kids.