TitleHome Ownership, Affordability, and Mothers' Changing Work and Family Roles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsEdwards, M
JournalSSQU Social Science Quarterly
Pagination369 - 383
Date Published2001
ISBN Number0038-4941

Objective. Elaborating on conventional explanations for rapid employment growth of married mothers of preschoolers, I propose that pursuit of home ownership contributed to this trend differently in different decades since 1950. Methods. Measuring husbands' income in terms of mortgage qualification and using logistic regression analysis of pooled Current Population Survey data to estimate trends standardized for compositional change, I compare hypothetical with observed trends since 1970. Results. Declining ability of husbands' income to qualify for mortgages and rising educational attainment of mothers explains the post-1970 accelerated employment growth for preschoolers' mothers. By the 1980s, other influences have greater relative effects on young mothers' employment. Conclusion. Home ownership contributed to slower growth in preschoolers' mothers' employment through the 1950s and 1960s, raising standard-of-living expectations. Declining affordability in the 1970s inspired even more rapid growth. Pursuit of prescribed standards of living has increasingly motivated families to embrace dual-earner work and family arrangements.