The Pew Research Center made headlines this week, with the release of a report showing that mothers are now breadwinners in fully 40 percent of American homes. The finding set off a storm of excited debate, even though, in truth, the “new” statistic wasn’t in any sense news: the proportion of breadwinner moms — women who earn as much or more than their partners or are single mothers providing the sole income for their families — actually crossed the 40 percent threshold back in 2010, as Heather Boushey and Sarah Jane Glynn of the Center for American Progress have previously reported.
What was notable – and surprising and more than a bit disheartening, on its face—was some new information about what Americans seem to feel about all those hard-striving, moneymaking mothers. Researchers Wendy Wang, Kim Parker and Paul Taylor found that a majority of people appear to disapprove of them: 74% of adults say that the increasing number of mothers working for pay has made it harder to raise children, and 51% agree that children are better off if their mother is home and doesn’t hold a job.
The above excerpt was originally published in TIME.
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