National Edition

More women choosing to be stay-at-home moms, Pew study says

Published: Tuesday, April 8 2014 8:35 a.m. MDT

Regardless of marital status, stay-at-home mothers are on average younger and less educated than their working counterparts; 42 percent are younger than 35. Nearly half have a high school diploma or less, something that's true of only 30 percent of working mothers. Cohabiting or single stay-at-home mothers are younger than those who are married. Married stay-at-home mothers are more likely to have been born in a foreign country, compared to those who are single or cohabiting.

Stay-at-home moms in general are also less likely to be white and more likely to be immigrants. The overall growth in the share of mothers born outside of the United States and increase in America's Latin and Asian populations likely contribute to the increase in the share of mothers who stay home, the report says.

The report relied on current population survey data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, primarily covering 1970 to 2012.

The researchers looked at differences by the mother's education level, as well. "People with less education are far more likely to stay at home," said Livingston. "That fits in with the larger idea that maybe some are staying home for economic reasons — that they do not have resources to pay for child care, for instance," she added.

The researchers also analyzed time-use diaries and learned that mothers at home do more housework and child care, but they also have more leisure and sleep. Married stay-at-home moms do more child care and less leisure pursuit than those who are single, they noted.

Mothers at home report seven more hours a week on child care than working moms, 18 hours compared to 11 hours.

Tipton says she may go back to work when the children are in school, but she's not rushing it. "I just want to be very involved in their education and activities," she said.

"I have no regrets being a stay-at-home mom. I miss some of the social aspects of work, but this is the best thing for my kids. … Some people aren't able to stay home. I feel like I'm lucky."

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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