Catholic World News

Women now primary earners in 40% of American households

May 29, 2013

Women provide the main source of income for 40% of all American households, a new Pew Research study has found.

The number of women providing the primary source of support for their families has soared in recent decades. In 1960, only 11% of American households had a woman as the main financial provider.

The Pew study found that in 63% of the households with female breadwinners, the income was earned by a single mother, while in the remaining 37% the main earner was a married woman, whose husband worked at a lower income level. The single-mother households were generally at low income levels, while the families with a wife earning more than her husband were relatively affluent.

The Pew study found that the number of American women who would prefer to work full-time has risen from 20% to 32% since 2007. The number of women who would prefer to remain home has dropped from 29% to 20% over the same period.

An overwhelming majority (74%) of those surveyed acknowledged that the trend toward two-income families has made it more difficult to raise children. But nearly as many said that families can be more comfortable with two incomes.

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  • Posted by: damian.riggs8445 - Jun. 01, 2013 10:55 PM ET USA

    I observe and have experienced for myself that in our first world society more and more the emphasis continues to be on "comfort," as noted in the article and less on the weightier issues of duty, obligation, and faithfulness. I say this without regard to whether persons are male or female. People have a misplaces notion of how to apply their own human worth, not only for themselves, but for the sake and benefit of others. Within families, going without and sharing are two ways of getting by.

  • Posted by: ForOthers8614 - May. 30, 2013 8:23 AM ET USA

    The Church teaches that an employer has the obligation to pay a worker a "family wage." My understanding of that section of the CCC is that one parent should earn enough to provide basic human dignity of ADEQUATE food, shelter, and clothing. The other parent (the Church does not specify gender in this section of the CCC) would then be able to fully attend to the needs of the family. Is it impossible for American capitalism to survive in that atmosphere? Have mercy on the worker, please.