“The decade of the 2000s witnessed the most rapid change in the percentage of married mothers earning more than their husbands of any decade since 1960,” said Philip Cohen, a University of Maryland sociologist who studies gender and family trends, in The Washington Post. “This reflects the larger job losses experienced by men at the beginning of the Great Recession. Also, some women decided to work more hours or seek better jobs in response to their husbands’ job loss, potential loss, or declining wages.”
There are substantial differences between single mothers, who make up nearly two-thirds of mom breadwinners, and the 37 percent of mothers who are married and primary breadwinners.
The median family income of married mothers who earn more than their spouses was about $80,000 in 2011, nearly four times the $23,000 median for families led by a single mother. In comparison, the national median family income for all families with children is $57,100.