Half of all babies born to mothers over 30

Family|October 17th 2014

For the first time since records began, the majority of babies in the UK are now born to mothers aged over 30.

According to a newly published statistical bulletin from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 51 per cent of the just under 700,000 UK births last year were to mothers aged over 30, the first time this has occurred since records began in 1938.

One fifth of all births were to mother s aged 35 or over, while a similar proportion were to mothers under 25. Prior to 1971, the majority of mothers were aged under 25, the ONS reports.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, fathers were even more likely than mothers be in their 30s: 66 per cent of registered fathers were aged over 30 during 2013.

The average age of first time mothers remains below 30, however – this stood at 28.3 years last year, up from 28.1 years in 2012.

A significant majority – 84 per cent – of the births were to mothers in a relationship of some kind: marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation. Sixteen per cent of the births were, therefore, to single mothers.

The percentage of children born to married parents has fallen steadily over recent decades. Last year, 53 per cent of newborns had parents who were married or in a civil partnership. In 2003, the figure was 59 per cent and in 1963 a hefty 93 per cent.

The ONS said

“Possible influences include; increased participation in higher education, increased female participation in the labour force, the increasing importance of a career, the rising opportunity costs of childbearing, labour market uncertainty, housing factors and instability of partnerships.”

Read the full analysis here.

In June, the ONS reported that 17 per cent of all UK households are now centred around cohabiting rather than married couples.

Photo by jemasmith via Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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