It's official: those of us who decide to have children are starting our families later than ever. The average age of new parents in England and Wales has increased for the 10th year in a row, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed this week.
The average age of new mothers in 2018 was 30.6 years old, while the average age of new fathers was 33.6 years old.
Whereas the average age of a new mother is now approximately 31 years old, a generation ago it was 24 years old.
Just under half (48%) of women in England and Wales who were born in 1988 remained childless as they turned 30 in 2018.
This represents a reasonably significant rise from the previous generation. In 1990, only 37% of women reached the age of 30 without having become a mother.
For the purposes of their annual parenthood statistics, the ONS presumes that a woman's childbearing years begin when she is 15 and end at 45, which is obviously a bit of a generalisation. Just under a fifth (19%) of women who turned 45 in 2018 hadn't become mothers, the ONS said.
Women who turned 45 last year had an average of 1.89 children each. Two-children families remain the most common family size, the ONS said, but the number of women having just one child has risen from generation to generation.
A total of 18% of women who turned 45 last year had just one child, compared to 14% of women who turned 45 in 1991.
Clare Murphy of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said the rising age of new mothers in England and Wales reflects women's improved education and career prospects, as well as the desire to save money for a first home.
"Women are often berated for leaving it too long to start families," she added. "In fact most couples try to make the best choices in recognition of the huge responsibility of having a child."