Many working moms and dads would prefer to stay home

In considering how men and women make tradeoffs when balancing work and family, I dug up some data from a 2012 Pew survey which asks working mothers and fathers their preferences for staying home versus working. The results, shown below, demonstrate one predicament faced by modern dual-earner families; roughly half of working moms and dads would prefer to be home caring for their children, yet few can afford to do so.

A5772CBE-965D-44C4-8B54-1CF557CF7433Using GSS data, we can roughly approximate how responses may have changed over time. Shown below is the percent of mothers and fathers reporting that if they had enough money to live comfortably, they would stop working. When framed this way, 30% of American parents in 2016 said that they’d prefer to quit work. Additionally, we can see that mothers today are more likely to want to keep working relative to the 1970s, perhaps reflecting women’s progress in integrating into more desirable sectors of the labor market.

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