The average age for new moms shows that women are waiting longer than ever before to have their first child. For years, it’s been documented that women are putting off starting a family until after they meet other life goals, and the latest study punctuates that.
Reuters reports via MSN that the average age for new moms giving birth is 26.3 years in the Unites States. The good news is that teen pregnancies has decreased.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control demographer and study co-author, T.J. Mathews, says that the nation still has a younger average childbearing age than other countries like Europe and Asia. Mathews attributes teens’ increased awareness of the realities of pregnancy along with better job and educational opportunities for women.
The federal study shows that all of these factors have increased the average age for new moms. This contributes to women of all races and ethnic groups, as well as geographically, the study reveals.
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According to the CDC and Prevention study, first births to mothers under the age of 20 dropped 42 percent from 2000 to 2014 and from one in four births to one in seven. In general, the average age at which women chose to have their first baby went up to 26.3 years in 2014 from 24.9 years back in 2000.
The report states that the trend “accelerated between 2009 and 2014, the most recent years studied, according to researchers, although the report did not break out statistics for that time frame.”
Mathews said researchers have observed those trends for decades, but the sudden increase in the last five years was “surprising.”
It’s noted in the study that the District of Columbia and Oregon had the largest age spikes. There was no explanation for this variable in the average age for new moms study.
In New Hampshire, there was an increase in 0.7 years to more than three years in the District of Columbia. The western United States tended to have the largest increases in age for new moms.
An interesting element in this study also highlighted that reality shows have actually helped by revealing the difficulties of having a baby could be linked to a decline in younger mothers, according to Mathews.
“Maybe we’re getting smarter about these things,” Mathews said.
He mentioned, however, that the U.S. teen birth is still higher than in other developed countries. Despite the U.S. having a higher teen birth rate, women are waiting longer before having babies, Mathews said. He added that more access to contraception choices is a factor in the average age of new moms increasing.
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Mathews thinks that the age will continue to rise before women decide on having children.
“We are up to 26.3 in the United States, but there are countries in Europe and parts of Asia that are over are 30,” he said.
Certain areas of the United States are apparently seeing that shift take place. Mathews went on to say that there are groups in the U.S. that are waiting until they’re 30 before having children. He cited Asian and Pacific Islanders as groups waiting longer to start a family.
John Santelli, a professor of population and family health at Columbia University, told ABC News that women “are staying in school longer, they’re going into the workforce, they’re waiting to get married, and they’re waiting to have kids.”
It seems that the average age for new moms will slowly rise over the years with so many other options available to women in career, education, and marriage.
[Photo by Felipe Dana/AP]