News Column

Later Motherhood a Growing Trend

Jan 22, 2013

Pamela Knudson

As first-time moms in their 40s, some women may feel a little unusual, but they are part of a group that's growing in numbers.

The recession has accelerated the trend toward older births, according to the Council on Contemporary Families, a research organization based at the University of Miami. While the overall U.S. birth rate fell more than 7 percent from December 2007 to December 2010, the birth rate for women ages 40 to 44 rose by 8 percent in the same period, continuing a trend that has been mounting since 1983.

The sharp decline in births to young moms -- teen birth rates fell by 17 percent, and births to women ages 20 to 24 by 17 percent -- presages an added rise in the number of older mothers in the future, the council said.

Almost 40 percent of all babies in the United States are born to women older than 30, and almost 15 percent -- one in seven -- are born to women 35 and older.

Birth rates for women 15 to 24 have fallen significantly since 1970, while birth rates for women 30 to 39 have risen.

Having children later in life is nothing new. When women routinely had four or five children, many bore their last child in their 30s or even 40s. What is new is the increasing trend toward postponing first births into that later age range.

In 1970, one in 100 first births was to a mother 35 and older. Today, the figure is one in every 12. And one in every four first births is to a woman older than 30.

Source: (c)2013 the Grand Forks Herald (Grand Forks, N.D.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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