The large majority of mothers in the United States are in the labor force making their economic contribution vital for their families’ economic security. One in two of the over 30 million families with children under 18 in the United States have a breadwinner mother, who is either a single mother, irrespective of earnings, or a married mother contributing at least 40 percent of the couple’s joint earnings; the share of mothers who are breadwinners varies substantially by race and ethnicity (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Two in four Mothers, and three in four Black Mothers, are Breadwinners for their Families

Households with a breadwinner mother as percent of all households with children younger than 18 years, by race/ethnicity, 2018

Notes: Racial categories are non-Hispanic; Hispanics may be of any race.  A breadwinner mother is defined as a single mother who heads a household (irrespective of earnings) or as a married mother who earns at lest 40 percent of the couple’s joint earnings. In brackets are the number of households with children under 18 for each category.

Source: IWPR analysis of American Community Survey microdata.

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