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.