Just under 20 per cent of the mothers who bore children in 2013 were older than their partners, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Of that 19.9 per cent, 3,000 mothers were more than ten years than the father of their children, the government statistics reveal, equating to 0.48 per cent of the total.
Meanwhile, fathers were older in than the mothers in a substantial majority – 68.3 per cent – of the close to 700,000 births in the UK that year. In seven per cent of all the births, the father was more than ten years older than the mother.
Parents were the same age in only 12 per cent of the births.
The average age gap between married couples is four years – and a slightly higher 4.2 years with cohabiting and unmarried parents. The gap rose to 4.6 years when at least one parent was born outside the UK and dropped to just 3.7 years when both parents were born in the UK.
ONS senior research officer Oliver Dorman pointed to influence of culture.
“There are definitely some cultures in which a younger bride is desirable and where a bride the same age or even older is not what you want at all.”
This is the first time the ONS has examined parental age gaps. Read the report here.