A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that mothers of the working class are now the "primary breadwinners" in 40 percent of American households. Compare that to 1960 when the number stood at 11 percent, the Associated Press reported.

According to the Pew Research Center's data, moms bringing home the primary source of income is comprised of 37 percent married mothers (5.1 million) and 63 percent single mothers (8.6 million). In 1960, only four percent of married women and seven percent of single mothers were considered financially dependable.

In the past decade, women have grown to represent 47 percent of the U.S. work force. In fact, the rate of employment among married mothers with children rose from 27 percent in 1968 to 65 percent in 2011.

Researchers contribute this growing trend to job cutbacks in male-dominated workforces, such as construction and manufacturing, during the recent financial recession. As fathers of households lost their jobs, mothers went out in search of higher paying jobs to support their family.

"This change is just another milestone in the dramatic transformation we have seen in family structure and family dynamics over the past 50 years or so," said Kim Parker, associate director of the Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project.

"Women's roles have changed, marriage rates have declined - the family looks a lot different than it used to. The rise of breadwinner moms highlights the fact that, not only are more mothers balancing work and family these days, but the economic contributions mothers are making to their households have grown immensely," she said.

So what does the public think about this nationwide gender role reversal?

Respondents participating in the study were asked to agree or disagree with the belief that it is unhealthy for marriage if the woman earns more than the man. While 28 percent agreed, another 63 percent did not agree with this notion.

This investigative report was carried out in 2011. In gathering its data, the Pew Center interviewed 1,003 U.S. adults over the phone from April 25 to 28.