The CDC has released a report this month confirming that, for the first time that data on the subject has been recorded, women in their 30s are giving birth at a higher rate than women in their 20s.
Though the CDC did not release the exact number of deliveries for each age group, it reported that in the age group 30 to 34, the birth rate was 103 per 1,000, while for the age group 25 to 29—the group that has had the highest birth rate for the past three decades—the rate was 102 per 1,000.
Further, the report, which looked specifically at changes from 2015 to 2016, revealed that the average age of first-time moms has increased to 28—50 years ago, the average age was 21.
There have been a few different speculations regarding the changing demographics, but the most popular theory is simple: women waiting longer before choosing to have children.
“I think there are multiple factors playing a role here. We are certainly seeing a shift in societal norms, with more women deciding to complete their education and start their career before they think about getting married and/or starting their family,” said Dr. Molly Moravek, an assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Michigan.
Also, more advanced medicine has added to this freedom of choice.
“I think improved access to safe and effective contraception, particularly long-acting reversible contraception, has contributed to this trend as well,” Moravek said. “These factors have let women think about when the ‘best’ time is for them to have children instead of when they ‘should.’”
If anything, this report gives you some evidence to whip out when dodging those pesky “Are you seeing anyone?” questions at your next family gathering. The CDC said it’s the new normal to wait, which sounds like the scientific version of en vogue.
Photo: Vanessa Porter, CC-BY
Emma Korstanje is a freelance journalist based out of Athens, GA.