Mothers earn the most in 4 out of 10 U.S. households

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A dramatic shift is taking place in the American family.

More working mothers than ever before are now the primary breadwinners.

The Pew Research Center found that in 2011, in 40 percent of households, women either earned more than their better halves or were single moms.

It's a big difference from 1960 when that was true for just 11 percent of families.

The largest group in the survey is single moms.

The Pew survey shows that a majority of Americans believes the growing number of single mothers is a big problem.

However, fewer Americans than ever are thinking that way.

And the younger you are, the less you think it's a problem.

We talked with a young working mother who has been raising her daughter on her own since she separated from her husband.

She says there's no choice when the father does not want to be involved.

However, she also believes the Pew survey shows that women are not helpless.

"That's very good. I think so just because before, you know how nobody really thought that a woman can be like the head of household or they had to depend on their husbands or just the man. And now ladies being more independent, thinking more about their families...I think that's actually very good," says Sandra Kochis who works as a dental receptionist.

Kochis says she believes it is important that her daughter has a father figure in her life.

She says the child's grandfather fills that role.

Kochis says she spends all the free time she can with her child, and they both are doing well.

In other survey results Pew found that working mothers who earn more than their husbands earn significantly more than single mothers. Nearly four times more.

Our Family Services in Tucson serves many of those women who are at the low end of the earnings scale.

Executive Director Patti Caldwell says the Pew survey shows the workforce has changed dramatically and that means communities have to change too to help families thrive, no matter who heads them.

"Right now we don't have enough housing that's truly affordable by those families. We need to be sure that we have accessible and affordable child care that is good quality child care the people can access. And we need to be sure that we have jobs that pay a living wage," Caldwell says.

The Pew Research Center found that most people recognize the economic benefits to families in which the mother works.

However, many people also were concerned about the impact on the children and even on the marriage.

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