Why Hillary Clinton will probably try to impress moms in 2016

It’s too early to tell what issues will define Hillary Rodham Clinton’s second run for the presidency, which she’s expected to announce Sunday. But based on her recent speeches and longtime commitment to gender equality, it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot in coming months about family-friendly policies — perhaps paid leave or universal pre-K.

Targeting parents is also smart politics. More than a third of voters during the last presidential election said they had children under 18, a CBS News exit poll found. The majority of Americans now support a law requiring paid family leave. Half back President Obama’s proposal for free tuition at community college.

Clinton has good reason to seek to harness the Parent Vote. It isn’t getting any easier to raise children in this country, and a lot of families are facing tough financial decisions.

More women than ever are working while raising children.

About 63 percent of mothers with small children go to work, compared to 31 percent in 1970, Census Bureau data shows. And a record 40 percent of American households with children are supported by mothers who are either the sole or the primary source of family income, a Pew Research Center analysis found. (That number was just 11 percent in 1960.)

These breadwinner moms are split into two groups, both on the rise, Pew points out: 5.1 million, or 37 percent, are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million — 63 percent — are single mothers.

Of American households with children, the share of married mothers who out-earn their husbands has gone up from 4 percent in 1960 to 15 percent in 2011. The number of families led by a single mother has more than tripled over the same period from 7 percent to 25 percent.

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