There’s a running joke in New York City that nobody has kids in their 20s (or even early- or mid-30s) here because, well, everybody is too busy. Now, it looks like the rest of the country is starting to catch up with this Big Apple platitude.
For the first time in recorded history, women in their 30s are having more babies than those in their 20s. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the birthrate for women in the 30-to-34 age range was about 103 per 100,000, while the rate for women between the ages of 25 and 29 was 102 per 100,000. The findings were based on reviewing birth certificates across the country in 2016. Though not in the 30s window quite yet, the average age of women giving birth for the first time increased to 28, two years later than that recorded in the 2014 data.
Additionally, the nation’s birthrate for children born to teens has gone down dramatically, with less than 25 births per 100,000 teens in 2016, compared to around 93 per 100,000 teens in the late 1990s. The birthrate for older moms is also rising: For women above the age of 34, the birthrate increased to around 53 births per 1,000 women (in 2015, it was around 52).
What’s accounting for the shift? Perhaps the stigma attached to having children later in life is dissipating, along with a shift in priorities for women toward careers over earlier motherhood.
While there are certainly risks to being pregnant later in life, a 2017 study from the London School of Economics found that kids of older mothers are often smarter than those born to younger moms. Interestingly, a 2016 study published in Population and Development Review revealed that these kids born to older moms are healthier, taller and, as in the 2017 study, smarter to boot. We’re all for doing what’s right for you, but if you’re thinking about waiting to have a kid until later in your adulthood, all this news is certainly enticing.