Census: Utah home to lots of stay-at-home mothers

Census: Utah home to lots of stay-at-home mothers

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A U.S. Census Bureau report says Utah is tied with Arizona for having the lowest percentage of children with both parents in the work force.

The report says 53 percent of Utah children have at least one parent at home.

Jeannene Smalley of West Jordan says her children are better off having her at home with them. She gave up her job years ago to become a stay-at-home mother.

"I don't regret it at all," said Smalley, who worked as a special needs teacher. "We had just decided it was important for me to be there at home to help our kids grow up. I have loved every minute of it."

According to the report, nationwide, there were 5.6 million stay-at-home mothers in 2007 who were caring for children younger than 15. That was about one-fourth of all married-couple families. There were 165,000 stay-at-home fathers.

Information for the report came from the American Community Survey.

"Despite press and academic attention, stay-at-home parents are a small proportion of married parents," the report said.

In a first-ever analysis of the nation's stay-at-home moms, the Census Bureau found they were more likely to be younger than 35, Hispanic and have lower education levels than mothers in the work force. They also have younger children.

In some aspects, Christa Storms of West Valley City fits that profile. She is a 29-year-old high school graduate who has three children at home who are 7, 5 and 2. She does some data entry from home to supplement her family's income, although the says her husband makes enough to support them.

"I believe that no one else is going to love my kids the way I will," she said. "I want to be the one there for them and make sure they are alright."

The report also said Utah had the highest percentage of households maintained by married couples with children younger than 18, at 82 percent.

In comparison, on a national level 67 percent of households with children younger than 18 were maintained by married couples in 2007.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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