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Historical Changes in Stay-at-Home Mothers: 1969 to 2009 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Atlanta, GA August 14-17, 2010 Rose M. Kreider,

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Changes in Stay-at-Home Mothers: 1969 to 2009 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Atlanta, GA August 14-17, 2010 Rose M. Kreider,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Changes in Stay-at-Home Mothers: 1969 to 2009 American Sociological Association Annual Meeting Atlanta, GA August 14-17, 2010 Rose M. Kreider, U.S. Census Bureau Diana B. Elliott, U.S. Census Bureau 1

2 Background The stay-at-home mother is relatively new concept: -- Post WW II prosperity provided jobs to married men and wages adequate to support a family -- Cultural values focused on family, coupled with stratified and gendered spheres of work and family -- Over the last 40 years, employment of married women with young children has been on the rise 2

3 Background The opt-out debate: -- Media outlets proclaimed a growing trend of high achieving married, working women “choosing” to leave the labor force to raise children -- Probably not a choice, but a result of the struggles to balance work and family -- Recent data show stay-at-home mothers are not primarily high achieving professionals, but are often foreign-born, Hispanic, and younger women with less education 3

4 Research needs The cultural and historical changes over the last 40 years suggest that in addition to the decline in the proportion of married mothers who stay at home, who they are has also changed – it’s a more selective group now. There is a need for a historical understanding of who stay-at-home mothers were and who they are now, relative to other married women with children who are in the labor force. 4

5 Research questions How has the proportion of married mothers who stay at home changed since 1969? With a lower proportion of married women with children staying home in recent years, how do they differ from their non-stay-at-home counterparts? How has the composition of this group changed over the last 40 years? 5

6 Data and Methods Data: March supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), also known as the Annual Social and Economic Supplement--ASEC (1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009) Sample: Married couples (that include the householder) with own children under 15 in the household 6

7 Data and Methods Definition of stay-at-home mothers (DV): Those wives who report being out of the labor force all last year while their husbands report being in the labor force all last year (50 or more weeks) 7

8 Data and Methods Independent variables: Wife’s characteristics: Age, Education, Race, Hispanic origin, Nativity Couple characteristics: which spouse has more education Household characteristics: Female adult relative present, number of children under 5 present 8

9 Data and Methods Analysis: Descriptive table shows stay-at-home mothers’ characteristics compared to other mothers for each decade Logistic models predict the likelihood of being a stay-at-home mother over time with main effects and interactions by year of survey. 9

10 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 Percent of married couple households with stay- at-home mothers: 1969 to

11 Percent of stay-at-home and other mothers who are age 15 to 24: 1969 to 2009 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999,

12 Percent of stay-at-home and other mothers who have less than a high school degree: 1969 to 2009 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999,

13 Percent of stay-at-home and other mothers who have a bachelor’s degree or more: 1969 to 2009 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999,

14 Percent of stay-at-home and other mothers who were Hispanic: 1979 to 2009 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1979, 1989, 1999,

15 Percent of stay-at-home and other mothers who were foreign born: 1999 and 2009 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1999,

16 Percent of stay-at-home and other mothers who were Hispanic and foreign born: 1999 and 2009 Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1999,

17 Predicting whether married mothers stay at home: Main effects model Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, Smaller proportion of stay-at-home mothers in later years (but odds ratios in 2009 are not as low as 1989 and 1999) More likely to be a stay-at-home mother: -Woman has less than a HS education – 1.3x more likely to stay home than those with a HS degree - Husband has more education – 1.2x more likely to stay home than those who have same education -- Two or more children under 5 – 2.8x more likely to stay home 17

18 Predicting whether married mothers stay at home: Main effects model Less likely to be a stay-at-home mother: - Under 35 years old (.57 age 15-24;.81 age 25-34) - Bachelors or higher – less likely (.77) than those with HS degree - Black women – less likely (.48) than White women -- Wife has more education – less likely (.72) than couples with the same level of education - Female adult relative present – less likely (.91) to stay home Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999,

19 Predicting whether married mothers stay at home: Main effects model Results for the model are similar to those for the model. - Hispanic women – 1.4x more likely to stay home than White non-Hispanic women Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1979, 1989, 1999,

20 Predicting whether married mothers stay at home: Interaction effects model (1969 to 2009) Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 Three findings of note: Age: in 1989, 1999, 2009, younger mothers (age 15-24) more likely to stay home than younger mothers in 1969 and 1979 Education: for 1979 and later, women with less than a high school degree were more likely to stay at home than those with less than HS in Hispanic: Relative to White non-Hispanic women, Hispanic women more likely to stay at home in later decades than in

21 Predicting whether married mothers stay at home: Interaction effects model (1969 to 2009) Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 Couple/Household characteristics: One or more children under 5: Regardless of the survey year, women with young children were more likely to stay at home ( model). Interaction terms don’t change the story. Spousal education differentials: In the model that controls for Hispanic, in 1999 and 2009, mothers with more education than their husbands were less likely to stay home than similar mothers in

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23 Conclusion Source: Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 While the proportion of married mothers who were stay-at- home moms declined significantly from 44 percent in 1969 to 26 percent in 2009, the relationship between stay-at-home mothers and particular demographic, socioeconomic, and family compositional variables changed over this time period so that the following women now have higher odds of being a stay-at-home mothers now than earlier in the 20 th century: -- younger; -- less educated; and -- Hispanic. 23

24 Contact Information Rose M. Kreider Fertility and Family Statistics Branch U.S. Census Bureau Diana B. Elliott Fertility and Family Statistics Branch U.S. Census Bureau NOTE: The estimates in this paper are based on responses from a sample of the population and may differ from actual values because of sampling variability or other factors. As a result, apparent differences between the estimates for two or more groups may not be statistically significant. All comparative statements have undergone statistical testing and are significant at the 90-percent confidence level unless otherwise noted. Further information about the source and accuracy of the estimates is available at: 24


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