More women over 35 are having babies than those under 25 for the first time in history

Posted by
Harriet Hall

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.


This is the first time, historically, that there are more women in their thirties in Britain’s maternity wards, than younger women

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.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of video-based social network for mothers, Channel Mum, told The Telegraph:

“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.

Images: Thinkstock

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