Image: still from Sex and the City. Image source.
Having just celebrated our mums for Mother’s Day last weekend, we’re also celebrating the fact that the notion of motherhood is evolving all the time. While our mother’s generation tended to have children in their twenties (and our grandmother’s even earlier on in their twenties), new statistics show that women in their 30s have now eclipsed younger women in the baby making department.
This is kind of a big deal, considering it’s the first time this has happened in decades. According to the Associated Press, the preliminary new stats from the CDC show that in 2016, there were 103 births per 100,000 women 30 to 34 versus 102 per 100,000 for women ages 25 to 29. As Jezebel points out, women in their 20s had the higher birth rate for 30 years, but now it’s looking like the over-30s have taken the lead.
We’re witnessing similar trends in Australia too. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, for example, the fertility rates of women aged 20-24 and 25-29 were markedly higher than all other groups up until the mid 1970s. Since 2000 though, the fertility rate of women in their early 30s has been higher than all other groups.
This is partly due to shifting priorities, as Millennials choose to focus on their careers or travelling first — not to mention saving up the money that’s required to build a family in the first place. In an age where home ownership is increasingly out of reach and even renting has become astronomical, it makes total sense that people are choosing to wait. But Jezebel adds that the dramatic drop in teen pregnancy rates is also partly responsible.
Ultimately, we’re glad to see things shifting, because it also means it’s less likely for rigid expectations to be thrust upon women early on in life. Overall, the statistics show a slightly declining birth rate and the average age of a woman who has her first child sitting at 28. But with more open-mindedness also comes more freedom for women overall.
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