The Washington Post

11 maps and charts for mother’s day

 1. More mothers are working

Federal data show that a larger share of mothers with children under 18 were working in 2011 than were working in 1975. Labor force participation among that group rose from 47. 4 percent to 70.9 percent.

Labor-force participation rate for mothers. (Created with
(Created with

2. The rise of the ‘breadwinner mom’

In a lengthy study published last year, the Pew Research Center investigated the rise in what they described as “breadwinner moms,” mothers who are the only or main provider of income for their family. From 1960 to 2011, the share of such mothers rose from 11 percent to 40 percent.

 (Pew Research Center)
(Pew Research Center)

Fathers are much more likely to outearn their wives, but their edge has been slowly eroding, as the chart below shows. Despite that fact, married households with breadwinner moms have higher total family incomes than married households with breadwinner dads.

3. Mothers are also increasingly more educated than fathers

 (Pew Research Center)
(Pew Research Center)

4. Single-mother households are on the rise

In 2012, 24 percent of kids lived with just their mothers, while 4 percent lived only with their fathers, according to Census data.

Single-mother households. (Created with
(Created with

NOTE: Because of the way data were collected, pre-2007, a household in which a child was living with two unmarried parents could have been identified as “mother only” or “father only.” Since then, more data have been collected to better classify the household.

5. The share of never-married mothers — who tend to be worse off — is also rising

From 1960 to 2011,  the share of never-married mothers rose from 1 percent of all families with children to 11 percent, Pew found.

 (Pew Research Center)
(Pew Research Center)

That’s an unfortunate trend. Generally, single mothers — who are more likely to be Hispanic or black — are disproportionately younger, poorer and less-educated than their non-single counterparts. Each of those is even truer of never-married single mothers (compared to divorced or separated single mothers).

 (Pew Research Center)
(Pew Research Center)

6. First-time mother’s are getting older

Over the past few decades, women have been becoming first-time mothers later and later in life. The average age of first-time mothers rose from 21.4 years in 1970 to 25.0 years in 2006, according to a Centers for Disease Control brief.

Age of first-time mothers, over time. (CDC)
Age of first-time mothers, over time. (CDC)

More than 20 states beat that national average, with Massachusetts seeing the biggest change. (All of the changes were statistically significant.) There, first-time mothers in 2006 were 27.7 years old on average, 5.2 years older than they had been decades earlier.

Change in the age of first-time mothers, over time. (CDC)

The northeast generally had the oldest mothers in 2006, as displayed in the map below.

7. Where the teenage mothers are

Of every thousand teens 15 to 19 years old, 31.3 on average gave birth in 2011, according to federal data. Arkansas and Mississippi were home to the highest rates of teenage births, with just over 50 of every thousand teens carrying pregnancies to term in 2011, according to HHS. New Hampshire had the lowest rate at just 13.7 births per thousand teens. The lowest rates were generally concentrated in the Northeast, with the highest concentrated mostly in the South.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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