Thursday, 4 June 2009

Mums are getting older

Regular readers of this blog will know that I find demographics fascinating. I found this data particularly interesting.

Since 1997, the average age of mothers has increased by a year. In the case of first borns, the increase is 1 year and four months. Moreover, the average age of first time motherhood is now over 27 years.

There are a number of ways of viewing this development. The increased age of motherhood reflects greater employment and earning opportunities for women. The cost of children, in terms of foregone income and promotion opportunities, is rising. Therefore women are pushing back the moment they begin having families.

There is also a downside to this development. As every woman will tell you, the threshold for women's fertility is around 34. Thereafter, the probability of conception declines, and after 40 it falls very rapidly.

There are also demographic implications. The rising age of women will also reduce the birth rate. The latter a woman starts having the children, the smaller her family is likely to be.

One thing is for sure, in demographic terms, a one year increase in the age of motherhood is a dramatic shift in social behaviour.

3 comments:

electro-kevin said...

It might interest you to know that there is a Darwinian action at work here.

It seems that longevity is one of the 'aspirations' of nature. It is axiomatic that the older the parent at the time that the offspring are concieved, the more likelihood the longevity gene is passed on.

If a parent has survived healthily enough to remain fertile concieve at 50 the chances are that the child will be able to breed at that age - and thus our life expectancy is increasing across the species.

It's not just better health care and living standards at play here.

Acorn said...

Ok Kev, but who is going to pay for the bloody pensions for all these geriatrics?

It sounds like Alice is getting broody; what you reckon?

electro-kevin said...

Alice Cook may well be a nom de plume. 'She' could, in fact, be a bloke. Ever considered that, Acorn ?