According to a new report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, women aren't having their first babies as young as they used to. For the first time, women in America are having children in their early 30s more than they are in their 20s.
For over 30 years, women in their late 20s had the highest birth rates in the US. But that all changed last year, the report indicates. In 2016, the birth rate for women ages 30 to 34 was about 103 per 1,000 women, while the rate for women ages 25 to 29 was 102 per 1,000. On average, women were having their first child at the age of 28.
The CDC's report also found that the overall birth rate was down slightly in 2016 (62 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44), and that the infant mortality rate has remained about the same.
According to the Associated Press, health experts said that the shift could be attributed to women waiting longer to have children, as well as the ongoing drop in teen birth rates.
Earlier this year, a study published in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology suggested that waiting to have children could have its benefits. Specifically, older moms — who may become more mentally flexible with age — are less likely to yell at their children and give harsh punishments. Their children are also less likely to have emotional, behavioural, and social issues. While that study didn't specify one specific age cutoff that would make someone an"older" mother, it did shed some light on the way parenting behaviours change as we age.
There are plenty of reasons someone might (or might not) wait to have children. But the bottom line is that the CDC's new data suggests for many of us aren't feeling pressured to have kids as early these days.