Some moms are staying home because they can't find jobs that will cover the cost of child care during the day.
In 2012, the number of stay-at-home moms rose to its highest level in several decades, with 29 percent of all mothers staying home, according to the Pew Research Center. While 85 percent of married mothers who stay home say they have chosen to do so because they want to care for their families, 6 percent of stay-at-home moms are home because financially it's their only option.
Of the 29 percent of moms who stay home, 20 percent have a working husband and the other 9 percent are single or cohabitating, according to Pew. Often the single stay-at-home moms are in the most dire straits, since they don't have any steady source of income. They must rely on family members, government programs or, if they are divorced, child support payments from ex-husbands, according to Huffington Post report.
"The economics of parenthood is a real problem in this country," Anne Weisberg, a senior vice president at the research organization Families and Work Institute, told Huffington. "Income has really been flat and expenses have been climbing — especially child care expenses. That's the squeeze."
The story explained that in a household with "one worker and one preschool-aged child, the parent needs to make $26 an hour, or about $55,000 a year, on average, to achieve basic economic security in the U.S." But, many such jobs have disappeared since the recession, so rather than have so much of their income pay for child care facility, some mothers who need to work are staying home.
The average cost of day care and other child care facilities has risen 70 percent since 1985, according to Pew.
During the recession, 60 percent of the jobs lost were mid-wage, defined as paying between $13.83 and $21.13 an hour, but since the end of the recession those jobs have made up only 27 percent of the jobs recovered, according to The Washington Post.
Instead, mid-wage jobs have been largely replaced by low-wage jobs, which pay less than $13.83 an hour and make up 58 percent of the jobs regained during economic recovery, the newspaper reported.
The few middle-wage jobs left are going to college-educated women, particularly those with at least a bachelor's degree, Paula England, a sociology professor at New York University, told NBC. While other mothers may be qualified, there are only so many jobs available.
Allicyn Willix, a stay-at-home mom interviewed by NBC, left her $9.50 an hour job at a chiropractor's clinic after having her first child because "she'd have to make at least $11 an hour just to break even on child care costs."
Emily Hales is an intern on the national team, covering issues facing families in the United States. She is a communications major at Brigham Young University.