Just as we finished sharing the news on what Apple and Facebook are offering to their female employees, a new study shows that more women are, in fact, waiting to start their families. In fact, the new report shows that half of babies are now born to mother aged 30 or older, and one in five were born to women over 35. If the trend keeps growing, it may not be long before women pursuing motherhood before 25 are in the minority.
The trend follows decades of more and more women choosing to pursue their careers and education before actively seeking out personal aspects of life, like marriage and children. Back in the mid-1970s, the typical age of a woman giving birth for the first time was 26.4. Today, the average age of a first-time mother is 28.3 years old.
More specifically, the statistics show that the number of births to women over the age of 35 has climbed to 140,658. The majority of babies, more than 400,000 were born to women between the ages of 25 and 39. But the babies born to women under the age of 25 saw a drastic shift, with only 148,855 babies being born to younger women last year. This is half the number of babies born to younger mothers just 40 years ago. The ever-changing dynamics of family could eventually mean that, within the next decade, fewer than 1 in 20 children in secondary school will have a mother in her late 20s.
But age isn’t the only changing family dynamic. Even marital status is shifting.
Although more babies are born now to unmarried mothers than in the early 1960s (47 percent present day compared to only one in ten), there is a definite trend as to the age of unmarried mothers. According to the report, more than two-thirds of the older mothers were married when they had their babies. In contrast, only one in five children born to mothers in their early 20s had married parents. Even fewer children were born into a family with married parents in the mothers under 20 group.
“Almost all women – 96 percent – aged under 20 who gave birth in 2013 were not married,” the report said.
Factors that are said to have influenced decisions over childbirth were “the instability of partnerships,” but we surmise that many women are simply choosing to exercise their right to actively pursue a career rather than immediately start a family.
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