Moms Increasingly Top Breadwinners, Thanks to Decline of Marriage

The share of moms who are their families’ chief earners is up, in part because dads aren’t around

At first, it looks like a sign of remarkable progress for women in the workplace. Women are either the sole or primary earners in more than 40 percent of all U.S. households with children under 18. That’s up from just 10.8 percent in 1960, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

But look a bit closer, and this shift is as much a sign of the changing American family as it is of workplace equality. The Pew analysis of Census Bureau data finds that moms aren’t becoming the chief earners just because they’re out-earning their husbands. It’s also because husbands increasingly aren’t around.