More Moms Choosing to Stay at Home, but Why?

Think stay-at-home moms are a thing of the past? Think again! A recent study found that the number of stay-at-home moms has increased in that past 15 years. In 1999, the last time Pew Research Center looked into the topic, 23 percent of moms with kids under age 18 chose to leave their office life. Today, that number is up to 29 percent. Researchers, however, were more surprised by the type of women who take on the stay-at-home role rather than the number. They found that the typical stay-at-home mom is younger, less educated, and less financially set than her peers — a complete 180 from the stereotype. These results, while shocking to some, do make sense. Given the high cost of child care and the struggle to find a well-paying job, it may make sense financially for women to take care of their children themselves.

"Even women who say they're staying home by choice may tell you they're home because the workplace didn't offer them many other options," D'Vera Cohn, an author of the new report told Cohn adds that there are also nonfinancial factors that affect a mother's decision, such as personal preferences and cultural norms. For example, the latest research found that Hispanic, Asian, and immigrant mothers are more likely to stay home full time than their peers. Cohn hopes this new research sheds some light on the real stay-at-home moms and prevents people from stereotyping.

"Certainly these elite stay-at-home mothers have gotten a lot of attention, but they're only a small slice of all stay-at-home moms."