Moms: A quick look at the numbers

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Katrina Irwin, 2, with her mother Stephanie Karlquist, both from Vancouver, make a stop to examine the flowers on Franklin Street near Mill Plain, Tuesday, March 4, 2008. (The Columbian, Steven Lane)

Every year as Mother’s Day approaches, the U.S. Census Bureau shares a fact sheet filled with statistics about moms. I’ve pulled out a few highlights but then, where possible, I’ve added local or state numbers.

For starters, according to the 2012 American Community Survey, about 4.1 million women between the ages of 15 and 50 gave birth in a 12-month period. In Clark County, that same data shows there were 6,459 women in that same age group who gave birth in the previous 12 months.

In 2011, a Census report states that unmarried women had about 35.7% of the births in this country. In Washington, that number drops to 27.7% and I was unable to find a percentage for Clark County.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average age of women giving birth for the first time inched up just a bit in 2012, going up to 25.8 years compared to 25.6 in 2011.

2012 ACS data on household demographics in Clark County.

2012 ACS data on household demographics in Clark County.

There were about 10 million single mothers living with children under 18 in 2013, which is up from 3.4 million in 1970. In Clark County, data from the America Community Survey in 2012 (see right) shows that about 10,674 households had a female householder with her own children under 18 and no husband present. That’s about 6.7 percent of the total 160,145 total households in the county at that time. I couldn’t find the same data point from 1970, but interestingly, according to figures from the 2007 ACS (see below), the percentage of single female householders with own children was slightly higher five years before at 7.3 percent (about 10,990 of the total 150,640 households).

2007 ACS data on household demographics in Clark County.

2007 ACS data on household demographics in Clark County.

In 2013, there were about 5 million stay-at-home moms in married couple family groups, according to “America’s Families and Living Arrangements” report from 2012. Similar numbers for the county were hard to find, but the 2012 ACS does show that about 31.8 percent of the county’s married households with their own children had a husband at work and a wife not working. What it doesn’t state, though, is how many of those wives are voluntarily staying at home with the kids.

Interestingly, the Pew Research Center’s “Fact Tank” just wrote on the subject of stay-at-home moms, specifically the increasing number of what are being called “opt-out moms.” These women are opting out of the workplace, even though they’re often highly educated and qualified for good-paying jobs. Pew states that about 29 percent of moms stay at home with the kids these days and about 4 percent are “opting out.”

If you do decide to work outside of the home, there’s a report out this week from WalletHub that says Oregon is the best state for working moms. Washington is apparently tied with Oklahoma at 33rd.

Of course, while this is all quite interesting, there’s one number that stands above all else: your mother’s phone number, or perhaps her address if you live close by and can pay a visit instead of making a phone call. While you’re at it, there are apparently 15,307 florists nationwide who can help you out, as well as 12,403 greeting card publishers, 15,097 cosmetics and beauty aid stores and 23,394 jewelry stores.

Happy Mother’s Day.

John Hill

John Hill

John is the web and photo editor at The Columbian, where he has worked since 1995 in various roles. A journalist for the past 25 years, he's a fan of good storytelling, data, graphics and still likes to read an actual newspaper. Twitter: @hilljohng

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