New analysis of birth registration records has revealed that the number of women over 35 having babies has eclipsed the number of mothers under 25, for the first time.
The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, show that 21% of babies born in England and Wales in 2014 were born to mothers over 35, but only 20% of births were from mothers under 25.
This is the first time, historically, that there are more women in their thirties in Britain’s maternity wards, than younger women – a marked change from only five years ago, when there were 27% more births to women under 25 than the older age group.
Although the mid-twenties have traditionally been considered the ideal age for reproduction, with the rise of numbers of women wishing to establish themselves firmly in their careers, women have been choosing to delay motherhood until they feel settled in other areas of their lives.
A desire to postpone motherhood was not limited to career, though, with record property prices and student debt factoring into people’s decisions to start a family. With the increasing difficulties faced by young people, children seems to come in lower down the priority list.
The figures reveal that later motherhood correlated to the price of an area, with London having the highest birth rate amongst older women and the lowest for mothers under 25. In the North of England, and in less-expensive areas, the opposite was seen.
“To start a family, you need a family home, but in many parts of the country this is now out of the reach of almost everyone under 25.”
“Rents and house prices have outstripped salaries and increasing job insecurity mean both men and women are waiting far longer to feel secure enough to become parents," she says.
If you're concerned about how to juggle a career and being a mother, we will be banishing all your worries at Stylist Live. On Sunday 18 October, we will be discussing life beyond nappies with new collective Mothers Meeting and WAH nails founder Sharmadean Reid - who have proven that you can have a thriving career post-baby.
You can get tickets for the talk here.
Stylist Live is a four-day festival of cocktails, culture, catwalks and conversation hosted by Edith Bowman and Dawn O’Porter on Thursday 15 – Sunday 18 October 2015