Single mom households bring in 70% less than breadwinning mom’s households

There’s an awful lot of talk these days about single mom’s. It’s probably because in 2010, an estimated 41% of babies were born to unwed mothers! I like to keep up with the latest discussion around single moms, especially as it relates to our well being and ability to provide for our families. Below you will find this week’s round-up of articles that talk about the state of single mom’s, many who are trying hard to lean in.

There’s one in particular I found very interesting. It comes to us from Syracuse University. The story focused on a report by Pew Research that found that 40 percent of households in the U.S. with children under the age of 18 rely on mom for either the only paycheck or the family’s top paycheck. In 1960, only 11 percent of families had a mom who was the primary or sole wage earner, according to the report. It goes on to say that these moms are basically split into 2 distinct groups: those who bring home a solid, middle-class wage and then there are single, working mothers who make little more than minimum wage. Now this is where it gets interesting and where we as a community need to focus.

“There are 5.1 million married mothers like Fierke who are bringing home their family’s largest paycheck. Most have at least a college degree. The median income in their households is $80,000 – well above the median for all families with children, which is $57,000, according to the Pew study.

The median income for the single moms is $23,000. They usually do not have an advanced degree, the study found. And, at 8.6 million, they far outnumber the married breadwinning moms.”

– from Mom’s the breadwinner, Dad’s making sandwiches, by Marnie Eisenstadt

Ok…single mom’s lean in! If you are a single mom, this is a very important article for us. If you are a single mom running a household for your family, you need to start thinking today about how you can personally help raise this median income. Our kids deserve better!

First, if you don’t have a degree – get some kind of degree or technical certification. A medical assistant program is 2 years, taking the extra step of getting certified can earn you an average of $41,000, according to

If you already have a degree, decide if it’s time to consider an advanced degree. Below are a few comparisons of bachelor’s vs. master’s degree earnings from

Bachelor’s degree: $33,242
Master’s degree: $43,997
Degree type: Philosophy
Bachelor’s degree: $34,163
Master’s degree: $43,112
Bachelor’s degree: $37,874
Master’s degree: $56,094
You’ll notice that in each of these cases the advanced degree
significantly increases the average salary, which means more to
invest in the well being of your family.

Finally, if you’ve been working in the same place for a while, it might be time to consider a job change. It’s important to understand that the same job may bring in a different level of income in different industries. Also, if you are highly valued at your company for a skill set that is advanced and unique, a company that hasn’t gotten used to your high level of commitment and contribution will likely be even more impressed with your accomplishments. Looking for a new job also gives you the opportunity to negotiate your salary. Negotiating a raise is much harder than negotiating a new salary. You are much more likely to be successful and it never hurts to see what might be out there and what you might be worth!

That’s how single mom’s lean in!

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