For the First Time Since World War II, More Women Over 40 Are Having Kids

Kelsey Clark

English and Welsh women aged 40 and over have officially surpassed the under-20 age group when it comes to having kids, according to BBC News.

An analysis of the recent numbers from the Office for National Statistics Data shows that there were 697,852 live births in 2015. Of those live births, 15.2 babies were born to every 1000 women aged 40 and up, compared to just 14.5 babies born to every 1000 women in their teens. This trend toward waiting to have children is further evidenced in the average age of first-time mothers, which is now 30.3 in the UK. This age has slowly been climbing since 1975, while the teen pregnancy rate has nearly halved since 1990.

ONS Officials cite advances in fertility treatments, the rising cost of childrearing, the importance of starting a career, and an increase in the amount of college-educated women as reasons for the shift. While the 40-and-up age group just barely surpasses the 20-and-under group, the last time statistics leaned this way was nearly 70 years ago in 1947 when men were headed off to World War II. This trend expands far beyond the UK—the average age of first-time moms is also climbing in the U.S., reaching 26 years of age for the first time in 2014. While there are certain health risks associated with getting pregnant later in life, this shift suggests a growing trend toward family planning for both mothers and fathers.

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