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RELEASE: Nearly Two-Thirds of Mothers Continue To Be Family Breadwinners, Black Mothers Are Far More Likely To Be Breadwinners

Washington, D.C. — A new analysis by the Center for American Progress finds that in 2017, nearly two-thirds—64.2 percent—of mothers were primary, sole, or co-breadwinners for their families. According to CAP’s analysis, 41 percent of mothers were sole or primary breadwinners in 2017, bringing in at least half of their families’ incomes. Nearly another one-quarter of mothers—23.2 percent—were co-breadwinners, bringing home between 25 percent and 49 percent of earnings for their families.

Notable findings by race reveal that black and Latina mothers are more likely to be breadwinners than white mothers. Furthermore, a substantial 84.4 percent of black mothers were primary, sole, or co-breadwinners in 2017, compared with 60.3 percent of Latina mothers and 62.4 percent of white mothers. Other key findings from the report include:

  • Women with a college degree are the least likely to be breadwinners, whereas the likelihood of being a co-breadwinner increases along with education attainment.
  • Younger and lower-income women are more likely to be breadwinners but less likely to be co-breadwinners compared with older and higher-income women.
  • The Northeast has the highest concentration of breadwinners, while the Midwest has the highest concentration of co-breadwinners; 68.2 percent of mothers in the Midwest are breadwinners or co-breadwinners—the highest among regions in the nation.

“For the past decade, research has shown that the days of the full-time, stay-at-home mom are long over for a majority of U.S. families, but too little is being done to advance policies that are responsive to families’ needs,” said Sarah Jane Glynn, former director of Women’s Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress and author of the report. “This is especially true for black and Latina mothers, who make up a disproportionate share of breadwinners. It’s past time for policymakers to address the gender wage gap and lack of policies such as universal paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and workplace flexibility so that mothers can reach their full potential while caring for their families.”

“In today’s economy, mothers have to be at the center of any plan to truly enhance families’ economic security,” said Shilpa Phadke, vice president of the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress. “This report reveals that it’s black and Latina mothers who suffer most from the Trump administration’s lack of a family-friendly economic policy agenda.”

Read the report: “Breadwinning Mothers Continue To Be the U.S. Norm” by Sarah Jane Glynn

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For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Colin Seeberger at or 202.741.6292.