Census figures suggest fewer than one in ten women now stay at home to look after their children.
The 2011 census revealed that there are currently 1,598,000 stay at home mums in England and Wales, representing less than 10 per cent of working age women. These figures illustrate a significant reduction when compared to 20 years ago, when 17 per cent of women stayed at home to raise their children.
In 2002 this figure dropped to 12 per cent and now it is below 10 per cent for the first time.
These recent census figures are also considerably lower than estimates from the Office for National Statistics, which believed there were closer to five million stay at home mums.
The decrease in the number of non-working mothers comes after a decade in which the Government urged mothers to seek employment. The Coalition has continued this push and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss has said providing cheaper day care to help mothers into jobs is “vital”. The Minster said:
“‘To power ahead Britain needs to look at best practice from overseas to discover how to increase women’s participation, especially for those who are parents.”
However, some critics claim is it not feasible for many women to stay at home because they need an income.
A report from the CARE charity last year also suggested that married couples where the mother stays at home face a tax burden 42 per cent higher than the average tax level in developed countries.