Average age of first-time moms in US risesAmy Walsh (Author) Published Date : Jan 14, 2016 22:39 ET
US is witnessing an all-time high in the average age of first-time mothers is, which is over 26 years.
The government began tracking the age of new mothers around 1970 when the average was 21. It s been mostly climbing ever since, and spiked in about the past five years.
There has been a sharp decline in teen moms and this is one reason for this change. But more first births to older women also are tugging the number up, said T.J. Mathews of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
He s the lead author of a report released Thursday that put the average age at 26 years, four months for women who had their first child in 2014.
The authors T.J. Mathews and Brady Hamilton are with the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Reproductive Statistics Branch.
The numbers went up after abortion was legalized by the US Supreme Court in 1973. Other factors contributing to this were improvements in birth control and greater opportunities for women.
Women are staying in school longer, they re going into the workforce, they re waiting to get married, and they re waiting to have kids, said John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health.
It s been going on in the U.S. since the 1950s, and in many other countries as well, he added.
All states and Washington, D.C., saw increases from 2000 to 2014, with the largest in the District of Columbia and Oregon. Asian and Pacific Islander mothers had the oldest average age at first birth at 29.5 years, and the youngest at first birth were American Indian or Alaska native mothers at 23.1 years.
Overall, the average age of first-time moms has been rising in every racial and ethnic group, and in every state. Since 2000, some of the most dramatic increases were for black mothers and for moms living along the West Coast.
However, the Northeast still has the highest average ages. Topping the list are Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, each at about 29, and Connecticut and New York, at or near 28.
Women are having children as late as 38 years.
Average age of first-time moms in US rises