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Study: Stay-at-Home Moms More Likely to Be Poor

April 29, 2014

he number of nonworking mothers rose to 29 percent in 2012, up six percent from a modern-era low in 1999, according to a recent analysis of government data from the Pew Research Center.

The analysis reports that mothers who stay at home are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, poor and have lower levels of education. They are also most likely to have a child under the age of 5.

Six percent of women in 2012, compared with 1 percent in 2000, say they are home with their children because they can’t find a job, the analysis found.

“I think the results are very interesting,” said Kristin J. Kleinjans, Cal State Fullerton assistant professor of economics.

“The biggest drop off is among the mothers you would think likely to have jobs. Most of these mothers are single, divorced or cohabitating. They have less income, are less educated and less likely to be married. They are the ones who could really use the income if they are working.”

Kleinjans said more mothers are staying at home because of higher unemployment rates and fewer public sector jobs, which often make it easier for women to combine work and family. Rising child care cost is yet another reason.

Women who are highly educated and in the workforce are less likely to have children, and if they do have children are most likely still in the workforce, Kleinjans said.

“I am really concerned about the mothers in economic situations who drop out of the labor force,” Kleinjans said. “They give up a lot of future income by staying at home. They have less years to contribute to Social Security and 401(k). These are the types of women who are more likely to be poorer when they are older.”  Read the full article  online .

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