The number of stay-at-home-mothers has dropped to the lowest level for 20 years.
Records about the number of stay-at-home mothers have only been taken from 1993, but since then the figure has fallen by 850,000 to 2.06million, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The news has been met with alarm by campaigners.
Lynne Burnham, of campaign group Mothers at Home Matter, said: "These figures reflect a disappointing and possibly harmful trend towards the enforced outsourcing of childcare by a government which clearly does not support the aspirations of many families to offer their children a mother or father at home full time."
Jill Kirby, a family expert and the author of The Price of Parenthood, added: "A lot of mothers are having to face the difficult decision to leave their children sooner than they would want.
"It is worrying. Children are missing out on the opportunity of having their mother with them."
The army of grandmothers who traditionally look after their children's offspring is also dwindling because of the gradual increase in women's state pension age from 60 in 2010 to 68.
For the first time, most women aged 60 have a job, Britain's leading economic think-tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said.