Women In 30s Now Having More Babies Than Younger Moms in U.S.
Women in their early thirties are for the first time having more babies than younger moms in the United States, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to health experts, the shift was caused by more women choosing to wait longer to have children, as well as a steady national drop in teen births. Now, the birth rate for women in the 30-to-34 age group is about 103 per 100,000.
In many ways, this attitude, and the milestone marked by the new CDC data, represents a gain for women. As Rebecca Traister wrote in her 2016 book All the Single Ladies, the social permission to delay marriage and childbirth—as well the as the biological ability to do so, first through the use of reliable birth control, now with the help of the booming fertility industry—has given women the freedom to define themselves through means other than motherhood. As recently as 1970, the mean age of first birth was just 21, giving most women precious little time to pursue education, adventure, and professional achievement.
However, the rise of older parenthood is also a response to a workplace paradigm that levies penalties on mothers. The U.S. is (Link): the only wealthy nation in the world without a federal paid parental leave policy, and childcare in this country is (Link): exorbitantly expensive and (Link): frighteningly under-regulated. Together, these factors push many women to put off pregnancy in the name of professional success or financial stability.
In her 2012 book Ready: Why Women are Embracing the New Later Motherhood, University of Houston professor Elizabeth Gregory analyzed census data from 2000 and found that delaying motherhood measurably increased women’s earnings.
(Link): Women In 30s Now Having More Babies Than Younger Moms in U.S. – May 2017
For the first time, women in their early 30s are having more babies than younger moms in the United States.
Health experts say the shift is due to more women waiting longer to have children and the ongoing drop in the teen birth rate.
For more than three decades, women in their late 20s had the highest birth rates, but that changed last year, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The birth rate for women ages 30 to 34 was about 103 per 100,000; the rate for women ages 25 to 29 was 102 per 100,000. The CDC did not release the actual numbers of deliveries for each age group.
It’s becoming more common to see older parents with kids in elementary or high school, said Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Meanwhile, more teens are growing up with fewer of their peers getting pregnant, he said.
“We always talk about peer pressure as a negative, but it can be a force for good,” Albert said.
A separate CDC report focusing on deaths found the nation’s overall death rate fell last year after an unusual and worrisome increase in 2015.
The reports are based on a first look at birth and death certificates filed across the country last year.
Among the findings:
- The overall birth rate was down slightly in 2016, to 62 births per 100,000 women ages 15 to 44.
- The average age when women have their first child is about 28.
- The teen birth rate continued to drop last year.
- The infant mortality rate stayed about the same.
- The overall death rate fell to about 724 per 100,000 people in 2016, down from 733 the year before.
Experts said the 2015 increase was tied to an unexpected leveling off in the death rate from the nation’s leading killer, heart disease.