Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Women over 40 are having more babies than those under 20 for the first time since WWII

mother.jpg

According to official statistics released by the ONS, women over the age of 40 are having more babies than those under the age of 20 for the first time since the Second World War.

The figures reveal a steady decline in teenage pregnancy – with the figures almost halving since 1990, when there were 33 births per 1,000 teenage girls.

Additionally, we can see that the fertility rate among women over 40 has more than trebled since 1981, when the rate was 4.9 for women aged 40-plus, compared to 28.1 for women under 20.

The ONS attributes these changes to advances in fertility treatments, as well as the increase in number of women in higher education, the importance placed upon career by women, the rising costs of parenthood and the uncertainty of the property market.

The older age group was seen to have the largest percentage increase in fertility rates in 2015 (at 3.4%), while at the same time, the younger group had the largest percentage decrease (of 7.1%). In 2015, there were 697,852 live births. Within this figure, there were 15.2 per 1,000 women over the age of 40, compared with 14.5 per 1,000 teenage women.

pregnant

The figures also reveal that fertility rates have dropped in those under 25, while it has increased for those over 30, with women between the ages of 30 and 34 having the highest fertility rate of any age group since 2004, when those aged 25-29 were most fertile.

The average age for having a child is now 30.3 – an age that has been steadily increasing since 1975 and, one that goes against the idea that women’s fertility goes into decline in their mid-twenties.  

Elizabeth McLaren, head of vital statistics outputs at the ONS says:

“The trend for women to have babies at older ages continued in 2015. Over the last 40 years, the percentage of live births to women aged 35 and over has increased considerably. Women aged 40 and over now have a higher fertility rate than women aged under 20 - this was last recorded in the 1940s.”

mother

Speaking to The Guardian, Head of Policy at the Fawcett Society, Jemima Olchawaski, says that younger mothers are seen to suffer more in their careers:

“We also know that the motherhood penalty in terms of pay is greatest, again, for women who have their children under 33. So it might be that women are realistically assessing that having a child younger is more likely to have a detrimental impact on their experiences at work and so delaying it for those reasons.”

The British Pregnancy Advisory service says that the “older” motherhood trend is not going anywhere any time soon, and that it’s time for society to stop preaching about the dangers and adapt to work with it:

“Rather than bemoaning this development, we should seek to understand and support the decisions women make. More affordable childcare and improved maternity rights may make it easier for some women to start their families earlier if they wish, but we also need to ensure we have high quality reproductive healthcare services configured to meet women's needs, whatever the age at which they conceive.”

Related

iStock_71352917_LARGE.jpg

Wolf whistles could be recorded as hate crimes against women

Hendrick Gin Bus London.jpg

There is such a thing as a gin bus and it's coming to London

theresa may prime minister.jpg

Why has it taken this long for another woman to rise to the top?

138640576.jpg

French women take to Twitter to fight the shaming of body hair

snapchat filter.png

Survivors of sexual abuse tell their stories using Snapchat filters

amanda 3 edit.jpg

Why I chose to become a single mum through IVF

rexfeatures_5754885ba.jpg

Queen Latifah calls for change: “Racism is still alive and kicking”

rexfeatures_5548262ba.jpg

Jennifer Aniston slams pregnancy speculation in powerful sexism essay

THEA_DRESS_IVORY_1.jpg

Here comes Reformation's latest sustainable bridal collection

Comments

More

“A teenage girl's first concert should be a rite of passage”

“And, last night it was snatched from their innocent hands”

by Lucy Foster
23 May 2017

Manchester attack: how you can help

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Amy Swales
23 May 2017

The entertainment world reacts to the Manchester terror attack

Tributes have poured in from stars across the globe following the tragedy

by Joe Ellison
23 May 2017

Manchester attack: the woman who heroically protected over 50 children

Paula Robinson has been praised for her heroism on social media

by Kayleigh Dray
23 May 2017

Manchester Arena blast: at least 22 dead and more than 50 injured

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has called it a “barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society”

by Kayleigh Dray
23 May 2017

Everything you need to know about alkaline hydrolysis

It's an eco-friendly alternative to burials

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 May 2017

How to chill a bottle of white wine in less than 3 minutes

Because who has time to wait for wine?

by Kayleigh Dray
22 May 2017

Bride’s wedding shoot with male bridesmaids goes viral

This computer engineer's bro-maids are basically awesome

by Amy Swales
22 May 2017

This is how you decide what to eat for lunch

Salad or sandwich?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 May 2017

How to tell if your friendship is failing - and how to fix it

These are the warning signs to look out for

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 May 2017