School & District Management

Who Are American Mothers Today?

By Karla Scoon Reid — May 16, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

While American mothers spanning many generations may debate what’s changed regarding our lives, the Pew Research Center took a look at the data behind those discussions.

In a post released this month on the Pew Research Center’s Fact Tank web page, Wendy Wang, a research associate for the center’s Social and Demographic Trends Projects, and Andrea Caumont, an editorial web producer, walk us through the numbers.

They found that American mothers with young children are more likely to be unmarried than several decades ago, with 30 percent either being divorced or having never married. In 1960, almost all mothers were married—92 percent.

Face it, American moms, we’re older, too. According to the post, the average age of a first-time mother was 25.8 in 2012, up from 21.4 in 1970. I’m honestly surprised that age isn’t higher. I was 34 when my first son was born, and I see few really young moms chasing after their kids on the playgrounds now.

The researchers go on to acknowledge that American moms spend more time working outside the home. But a recent Pew Research Center analysis of government data found that the share of stay-at-home moms increased for the first time in decades, climbing from 23 percent in 1999 to 29 percent in 2012. Yet, if you ask mothers to describe their “ideal” work situation, most still prefer to head to the office in at least a part-time position than to stay at home.

So what’s a mother to make of these numbers? Well, just realize that you’re not the only mom over 40 picking your children up at the elementary school while fielding a work call on your cell phone. For those of you in the trenches at home with no work-based escape, look for more moms to join your ranks soon.

My key takeaway, regardless if you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, you still need to remember to sign that darned field trip permission slip.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management 10 Ways to Tackle Education's Urgent Challenges
As the school year gets underway, we ask hard questions about education’s biggest challenges and offer some solutions.
2 min read
Conceptual Image of schools preparing for the pandemic
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educator Stress, Anti-Racism, and Pandemic Response: How You're Feeling
A new nationally representative survey offers key takeaways from teachers, principals, and district leaders.
EdWeek Research Center
1 min read
2021 BI COVER no text DATA crop
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Download 8 Tips for Building a Digital Learning Plan That Conquers Chaos
Craft flexible strategies, encourage experimentation with new instructional models, and regularly solicit feedback.
1 min read
onsr edtech tips