Stay-at-Home Moms are More Likely To be Younger, Hispanic and Foreign-Born Census Report Shows
A new report released by the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the 5.6
million stay-at-home mothers in 2007 were younger and more likely to be
Hispanic and foreign-born than mothers who were in the labor force. Nearly
one-fourth of all married-couple families in the U.S. had a stay-at-home
The term “stay-at-home” is used to describe the father or mother in a
family who stays home to care for the children while the other spouse is in
the labor force.
“This report represents the first time the Census Bureau has done this
type of analysis of stay-at-home moms,” said Rose Kreider, family
demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. “It not only provides a snapshot
of today’s stay-at-home mothers, it also allows us to study trends in basic
household and family composition.”
The report, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2007, also shows
that the number of people living alone has risen from 17 percent in 1970 to
27 percent in 2007, and the average household size has declined from 3.1
people in 1970 to 2.6.
Stay-at-home mothers were younger than other mothers — 44 percent were
under age 35, compared with 38 percent of mothers in the labor force.
More than one-quarter (27 percent) of stay-at-home mothers were
Hispanic, compared with 16 percent of the other mothers. Stay-at-home
mothers were less likely than mothers in the labor force to be non-Hispanic
white (60 percent of stay-at-home moms compared with 69 percent in the
labor force) or black (4 percent compared with 9 percent).
About one third (34 percent) of stay-at-home mothers were foreign-born,
while less than
one-fifth (19 percent) of the other mothers were foreign-born.
A higher percentage of the stay-at-home mothers had an infant in the
28 percent — compared with 21 percent of other mothers. Fifty-seven percent
of stay-at-home mothers had a preschool age child (under 5), compared with
43 percent of mothers in the labor force.
While 19 percent of the stay-at-home mothers had less than a high school
degree, the same was true for only 8 percent of mothers who worked.
Thirty-two percent of the stay-at-home mothers had at least a bachelor’s
degree, compared with 38 percent of the other mothers.
Prior reports in this series were based solely on the Current Population
Survey, examining detailed information about family structure and
characteristics over time. This report, America’s Families and Living
Arrangements: 2007, also utilizes the American Community Survey to provide
information about how family and household characteristics vary across
Utah had the highest percentage of households with children under 18
maintained by married couples (82 percent), while Washington, D.C., had the
highest percentage of households with children under 18 maintained by a
single parent (54 percent). Among the states with the highest percentage of
households with children under 18 maintained by unmarried partners were New
Mexico (10 percent) and Maine (9 percent).
Nationally, 62 percent of children in married-couple households had both
parents in the labor force. The states with the highest percentages
included South Dakota, Vermont and North Dakota. In contrast, Arizona and
Utah had the lowest percentages.
Other highlights from the report:
-- Stay-at-home fathers numbered 165,000 nationally in 2007.
-- Sixty-eight percent of households in 2007 were family households,
compared with 81 percent in 1970.
-- Most family groups with children under 18 (67 percent) were headed by
married couples, compared with 87 percent in 1970.
-- The vast majority of fathers who lived with their under age 18 child
also lived with the child’s mother (94 percent). By comparison, 74 percent
of mothers living with their under age 18 child also lived with the child’s
Editor’s note: Stay-at-home parents are those who have a child under 15 and
a spouse who was in the labor force all 52 weeks last year, while they were
out of the labor force during the same 52 weeks to care for home and
These data are from the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS) and Annual
Social and Economic Supplement to the 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS).
As in all surveys, these data are subject to sampling and nonsampling
errors. For more information about the source of the CPS data and accuracy
of the estimates, see Appendix G at <
http://www.census.gov/apsd/techdoc/cps/cpsmar07.pdf>. For more information
about the source and accuracy of the data from the ACS, see <
Editor’s note: The embargoed data can be accessed at
After the release time, go to <