Mum and dad both work in nearly half of US families: Study

In nearly half of American families, two parents work outside the home.
In nearly half of American families, two parents work outside the home.REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - In nearly half of American families, two parents work outside the home, creating a better financial cushion but a sometimes precarious work-life balance, a new US study found.

"As more mothers have entered the US workforce in the past several decades, the share of two-parent households in which both parents work full time now stands at 46 per cent, up from 31 per cent in 1970," said the study released Wednesday by the Pew Research Centre.

In terms of their financial wellbeing, families with two full-time working parents are better off, with a median household income of US$102,400 (S$144,000) compared with US$84,000 for households where the father works full time and the mother works part time.

In households where the father is the sole breadwinner, the average income is US$55,000.

Despite greater financial freedoms, the Pew Centre found that 56 per cent of all working parents say that the work-parenting balancing act can be difficult to manage.

Forty-one per cent of working mothers said that being a parent has hampered their career advancement, while just 20 per cent of working fathers said the same.

And in households where both parents work full time, many couples also said a large share of day-to-day parenting responsibilities falls to the mother.

The poll, conducted from Sept 15 to Oct 13, queried 1,807 Americans with children younger than 18.