Stay-at -Home Mothers

Mother and child baking


Who remembers the stay-at-home mother? She was a force to be reckoned with. A domestic goddess who mastered the balance of house and husband whilst rearing the 2.4 children. Those days are largely gone with the wind now. Did you know that apparently only 1 in 5 middle class women now opt to leave the world of work behind to take up the role of full-time mum? Many would be unsurprised by this statistic, especially considering the remarkable achievements of the feminist movement throughout the last century. These days, being a career-orientated woman is simply second nature, and quite rightly so. However, some still believe that there is no better person to look after the children than themselves, and fair play to them.


Once the norm, many would now consider giving up work a luxury for the few and not for the many. However, others would claim that the crippling costs of childcare actually makes becoming a stay-at-home mum more economic sense. Even so, there needs to be a reasonable level of financial stability in a household in order for one spouse or partner to give up their income. Whether this group of mothers see it as a choice or necessity is bound to cause some deliberation. But, seeing as we are all about addresses, we are more interested to see whether this dying breed of occupation is location dependent. Which regions in the UK have more working mothers? And which are the home to the traditional conjugal roles? Hopewiser are very interested to know.


The statistics below show employment rates of women with and without children based on a study from the Office for National Statistics between January and December 2016.

Statistics regarding the percentage of working mothers

Albeit there isn’t a dramatic difference across the UK, it is clear that the level of employment for women with dependent children does differ in certain regions. For example, mothers who live in London are less likely to be in employment if they have dependent children (65.9%) as opposed to those women who don’t (68.1%). There could be a number of reasons for this, such as the high cost of childcare. In London, the average fee for a child under the age of 2 years is £280 per week! This is as opposed to the average cost of £210 in other areas of the UK.


That said, Southerner’s often have the luxury of choice with regards to how their children are raised. Whilst some mothers may decide it is cheaper for them to forgo their own income and stay at home rather than pay someone else to do it, the fact that the average Londoner each had £27,151 available to spend or save in 2016, validates our theory that your postcode does determine your ability to make these lifestyle choices.


If we take a look back at the graph and head up towards the North-East of England, the level of mothers in employment (72.2%) actually exceeds the percentage of women who work and do not have children (63.9%). In all honesty this doesn’t set off alarms bells in our minds, especially considering that the North-East is renowned for being poorer than other regions in England. The decline of the mining industry in the 1980s had a detrimental effect on the economic state of the region (Billy Elliot springs to mind), and even over 30 years later it would appear that poverty still lingers in the air with an average Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) of £15,595 per head. This is quite a significant decrease from that of London.


Therefore, it comes as little or no surprise that mothers who reside in the North-East have few other options than to work for a living in order to provide for their children. Other contributing factors to these statistics could be single-motherhood, or simply the desire to return to work once their maternity leave is over. Every woman’s circumstances are different no matter where in the UK she lives.


More surprisingly, the South-West of the country has the highest employment rates of mothers with dependent children (77.5%). Again, exceeding those women without (69.9%). Why could this be? With a population of over 5 and a half million and a GDHI of £19,077, the region sits more or less in the middle of the wealth scale. This would suggest that economic advantage does not necessarily mean that mothers will choose to stay at home with their youngsters.


Statistics representing the female workforce


Between January and March 2018, the female workforce sat at 71.2%, which is a large increase from the 52.8% between January and March 1971. Regardless of which regions have lower percentages of working mothers for whatever reason, the vast majority of women are in employment and we doubt this will ever change given the vast societal changes that we have witnessed in decades gone by.


This blog post is part of a series that analyses freely available data. We understand the impact of how data is collected, handled, and processed and as such can help you with all your data needs, whether that is address cleansing, bank account checking, or bulk mailing discounts.