NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – More mothers are staying home with their children, but not for the reason most would think.
According to CNNMoney, staying at home with children is on the rise again in the U.S. because mothers cannot find jobs.
Even if they do find something, the pay likely does not cover the cost of childcare.
Stay-at-home mothers reached an all-time low in 1999, when only 23% of moms stayed home.
For the last 15 years, the share of stay-at-home mothers has been rising.
The first jump coincides with the 2000 recession, and the second occurred during the even deeper economic downturn that started in 2007.
Today, 29% of American mothers are at home.
According to research, over a third of these mothers live below the poverty line, almost half have merely a high school level education or less, and 49% are minorities.
These are mothers who stay home because they can’t find work, they can’t afford childcare, and other reasons like cultural preferences, disabilities, or enrollment in school.
Participation in the workforce has risen dramatically for women in general.
CNNMoney reports that in 1950, only 37% of women ages 25 to 54 participated in the labor force, meaning they had a job or were looking for one.
The number rose rapidly, climbing to 77% by 1999.
As of 2013, that number has fallen back to 74%.
Cornell University economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn believe a key part of the problem could be a lack of family-friendly labor laws.
Twenty-six other countries in the world have higher labor force participation from women, and they tend to be countries that grant long paid parental leaves (not to just mothers, but fathers as well).
The United States remains the only major industrialized country in the world that doesn’t mandate some sort of paid parental leave.
The numbers for stay-at-home dads are still very small.
Only about 6% of dads are reported to stay home with the kids.
However, experts believe those ranks will probably grow in the future though.