An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — At first blush, the rise in the number of stay-at-home moms might seem to be a return to more traditional values.
The percentage of mothers who do not work outside of the home rose to 29 percent in 2012, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center this week. That is up from about 23 percent in 2000. Both figures, of course, are much higher than generations ago, when almost half of women did not work outside the home and almost all of them had working husbands.
Today, it is a very different landscape, with about a third of at-home moms single or living with someone. So, some of the recent increase also is affected by economic realities, job growth and the rising cost of day care.
It is important to note that only a small share of today’s stay-at-home-moms represent the affluent, suburban lifestyle often portrayed on TV and in the movies. The study estimates that at-home moms with upper incomes and working husbands account for less than 5 percent of the 10.4 million mothers not working outside the home.
On the other end of the spectrum, about 34 percent of the mothers at home are living in poverty.
The 60 percent in between seem to be a mix of those who want to stay home because they feel it is better for their children and those who stay home because of limited work opportunities and earning power…