Despite the fact that most mothers in the U.S. work at least part time, many Americans continue to believe that having a mother who stays at home is beneficial for a young child, though as is often the case with public opinion variations in question wording elicit slightly different responses. A recent Pew Research survey focusing on “parents,” rather than just on mothers, asked Americans which statement came closer to their view: First, children are better off when a parent stays home to focus on the family; or second, children are just as well off when their parents work outside the home. Fully six-in-ten adults chose the first statement and only about one-third (35%) chose the second statement.18
Men (65%) are somewhat more likely than women to say children are better off when a parent stays home. But even among women, 55% say having a parent at home is better for a child. Four-in-ten women say children are just as well off when their parents work outside the home.