Delivered March 4th, 2020. Contributors: Lu J. and
Changes in the Homemaker Role
The change in the role of homemaker has been multifaceted in the last couple of decades in the US. 55% of mothers in the US with children younger than 18 work full time, an increase from 34% in 1960. Currently around 7% of fathers who live with their kids are stay-at-home dads. In 1960, only 6 men in total were reported to be living as stay-at-home dads.
55% of mothers in the US with children younger than 18 work full time, an increase from 34% in 1960, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau Current Population Survey data.
The increase in full-time employment has helped the overall increase in employment among moms. Currently, 72% of moms are employed, either full time or part-time, compared to 50% in 1968.
According to the New York Times, in the 1950s, "women were expected to stay at home, and those who wanted to work were often stigmatized. Today it’s mostly the other way round, pitting women against one another along the fault lines of conviction, economic class and need, and, often, ethnicity."
Nowadays, stay at home women are more often than not seen as old-fashioned and usually as an economic burden to society. If their husbands are wealthy, they are frequently seen as being lazy, and if they are immigrants, they are seen as mothers who keep their children from learning the language and cultural ways of the host country.
Among fathers with kids in the home, 89% are employed full time, a number that hasn't seen a significant change since 1960.
Rate of stay at home mothers in a 2-parent household
According to Census Bureau data, in 1967, 49% of mothers in a 2-parent household were stay-at-home mothers.
This percentage steadily decreased through the decades until 1999, when approximately 23% of mothers stayed at home.
From 2000 onward, the percentage of stay-at-home mothers began to rise again, to 29% in 2012. It is reported that this number has stayed the same until 2019.
According to Pew Research Social and Demographic Trends, declines in the participation in the labor force and an increase in immigration were the most likely factors in the rise of the stay-at-home rate. This data also indicated that the increase in the proportion of mothers who stayed at home was not likely to continue due to the majority of mothers stating they would like to work part-time or full-time
Moreover, in 2014, only 14% of children younger than 18 were reported living with a stay-at-home mother and a working father who were part of their first marriage.
Asian children are "the most likely to be living with a stay-at-home mom and working dad in their first marriage. Almost one-fourth (24%) are, due in large part to the high rates of marital stability among Asians; fully 71% of Asian children are living with parents in their first marriage."
Rate of stay at home fathers in a 2-parent household
Currently around 7% of fathers who live with their kids are stay-at-home dads. In 1960, only 6 men in total were reported to be living as stay-at-home dads.
Stay-at-home fathers are currently in the same position that working mothers were in the 1960s. While they existed before, people were unable to understand what to make of them.
This feeling has changed since then, and it is based on a change in norms, values, and ideology which is always a very slow cultural and societal change.
Societal Changes Since the 1960s
Rates of single parent households, same sex parents, multi-general households, and rented homes have been on the rise since 1960. The 1960 Census stated that 9% of all households were single-parent households, climbing to 23% of U.S. families in 2019. 16% of the total U.S. population lived in a household that had at least two adult generations, a 4% increase compared to 1960s levels. The portion of cost-burdened renters in the US increased from 24% in 1960 to 49% in 2014.
Rates of single parent households
The second half of the 20th century saw the share of single-parent families increasing steadily. The 1960 Census stated that 9% of all households were single-parent households, compared with the 28% reported by 2000.
A 2019 Pew Research Center study showed that 23% of U.S. families were single parent households under the age of 18 live with one parent and no other adults, which is more than three times the share of the same type of households around the world. The study found that U.S. households that identified as Christian as well as those that were religiously unaffiliated are about equally likely to live as a single parent household.
According to U.S. Census Bureau, there are two big demographic trends that can be identified as the underlying causes for the increase in single parent households over the past couple of decades. The first is the large increase in births to unmarried women while the second is the increased rate of divorce.
In 2000, almost one-third of all births occurred to unmarried women. Additionally, kids also become part of single parent households through the death of a parent, even though widowhood has been a comparatively minor factor for the past 50 years.
Rates of same sex parents
There are no existing statistics that would show whether there were any same sex parents living in the US in 1960.
The reason for this is the fact that the gay rights movement saw its first large step of progress in 1961 when Illinois became the first state to introduce anti-sodomy laws, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality. Up until that point, homosexuality was considered illegal, and therefore couples could not identify as same sex couples or same sex parents.
According to historical data, the phenomenon known as the lesbian baby boom began in the 1990s when "sperm banks first opened their doors to lesbians. As same-sex parent adoption became legalized, increasing numbers of gay men became fathers, resulting in the gay baby boom." Therefore, the first data on same-sex parents in the US is available for the year 1990.
The 1990 rate for same sex parents in the US was 13%, while the estimates between 2000 and 2008 were fluctuating between 17% and 19%.
According to the 2019 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), there are 543,000 same-sex married couple households in the US.
The underlying reason for the increase is the fact that same-sex marriage and adoption are becoming more accepted nationwide.
Rates of multi-generational households
This 33% increase represents a strong trend reversal. From 1960 to 1980, the percentage of Americans living in multi-generational households had decreased by over a half (from 25% in 1960 to 12% in 1980).
The growth since 1980 is "partly the result of demographic and cultural shifts, including the rising share of immigrants in the population and the rising median age of first marriage of all adults. But at a time of high unemployment and a rising foreclosures, the number of households in which multiple generations of the same family double up under the same roof has spiked significantly."
In 2008, approximately 49 million Americans, which translates to 16% of the total U.S. population, lived in a household that had at least two adult generations. In 1980, only 28 million Americans lived in such a household, which represented 12% of the population.
This trend since the 1980s has had an effect on adults of all ages, but more so on the elderly and the young.
The overall number of households in the US increased by 7.6 million between 2006 and 2016 but the number of owned households remained relatively flat, partly because of the strong effects of the housing crisis.
On the other hand, the number of households that rented their home grew significantly during that same time, as did the share, which increased from 31.2% of households in 2006 to 36.6% in 2016.
Some demographic groups — mainly young adults, nonwhites and the lesser educated, have "historically been more likely to rent than others, and rental rates have increased among these groups over the past decade. However, rental rates have also increased among some groups that have traditionally been less likely to rent, including whites and middle-aged adults."
Young adults under the age of 35 continue to be the most likely to be renting their home. In 2016, 65% of households including people younger than 35 were renting, up from 57% in 2006.