Mostly that's because of single moms. But there's also a growing trend of wives earning more than husbands. From Pew:
A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share was just 11% in 1960.
These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers.
The median family income of the former group is nearly $80,000, much higher than the national median income of $57,100 for all families with kids, and nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mom.
So we're really talking about two completely different arrangements.
I know quite a few families with either single mothers or wives who work full-time and husbands who don't. I've even met a few of them at Ricochet meet-ups, so I know we have them here, too. Hey, guys!
Even with my highly traditional views about men being the heads of households, I see no inherent problem with wives earning more than their husbands.
But what really annoyed me about this story was how a local reporter sought to interview subjects for her story on this report. She works for the Washington Post and her last attempt at story sources was to find out if parents were banning toy guns from their house in response to Newtown. She wasn't interested in the variety of responses to Newtown but she had already determined that this would be her story. She kept asking for weeks, apparently to no avail.
This week she announced that this Pew report was coming out and said she wanted to talk to these "Breadwinner Moms." Then she wrote:
While close to 80 percent say women should NOT return to the 1950s homemaker role, they are uncomfortable about the toll breadwinning moms may take on children and marriages - while they don't have that same feeling about breadwinner dads. Interesting and weird. Thoughts?
Emphasis mine. I wrote up a response that I didn't bother finishing or sending. It began:
Wait, why is it "weird" to think it's good for men to be breadwinners?
Particularly considering that major new research on marriages where wives make more shows they're unhappier and more likely to divorce.
In general it makes sense for men and women to make different types of sacrifices (largely owing to biological reality and the social norms that flow from that) for their families. That women sacrifice by, say, gestating little humans and nursing them and looking after them and so on and so forth, and men sacrifice by being expected to work without any break whatsoever for their entire lives is not the rule for everyone. But there's nothing wrong with comprehending the social norms and benefits that come with acknowledging the reality of men and women not being completely interchangeable, biologically or otherwise.
What do you think about the growing trend of Breadwinning Mamas? Cause for alarm? All cool?