Women Are the Primary Breadwinners in Nearly Half of U.S. Family Households

Friday, May 31, 2013
(graphic: National Building Museum, AP)

Like it or not—and some Christian conservatives definitely don’t—the American family has changed so much that women are now the primary breadwinner in nearly half of all U.S. households.


About 40% of homes with children under age 18 now include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for her family, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census and polling data. The rate is the highest on record, and is four times of what it was in 1960.


Over the past 50 years, it has become more acceptable, if not necessary for economic reasons, for married women to join the work force. It also has become more common for single women to raise children on their own. In fact, most moms who serve as the chief breadwinners for their families — nearly two-thirds — are single parents.


But this reality does not sit well with some leaders in the evangelical movement.


In reaction to the news of the Pew study, Christian radio host Bryan Fischer told his listeners that men were designed to have jobs, while women should stay home.


“That’s the way God set it up, that’s the way he designed it,” he continued, according to The Raw Story. “Husbands are to use their stamina and their strength and their brainpower — not that they’re smarter than women, I’m not saying that — but God has given them a brain and the purpose for using their mental ability is to provide for their families.”


Women were created to focus on “making a home for her children and for her husband,” Fischer said.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

U.S. Women on the Rise as Family Breadwinner (by Catherine Rampell, New York Times)

Christian Radio Host Upset by Female Breadwinners: Women Not Designed to be Providers (by Eric W. Dolan, Raw Story)

Breadwinner Moms (by Wendy Wang, Kim Parker and Paul Taylor; Pew Research Center)

Gender Identity and Relative Income within Households (by Marianne Bertrand, Jessica Pan, Emir Kamenica; National Bureau of Economic Research) (abstract)

Women Are Not Sharing in State’s Economic “Recovery” (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)     

Salaries of Female College Grads Stop Growing at Age 39; Males at 48 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)    

10 Worst Industries for Women (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky)    

Married Women Who Take Husband’s Name Lose $1,162 a Month in Salary (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky)    


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