Women in their early 30s are now having more babies than younger women – a first for the United States.
According to health experts, this shift is because more women are now choosing to wait longer before having children, along with a drop in teenage birth rates, Bloomberg reports. For over 30 years, women in their late 20s had the highest birth rates, but that suddenly took a turn last year, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states.
Based on the preliminary data, the birth rate for women ages 30-34 was 102.6 per 1,000, while the birth rate for women ages 25-29 was 101.9 per 1,000. Birth rates for older mothers also went up, with 52.6 births for every 1,000 women ages 30-34, Newsweek reports. In 2015, the birth rate for women ages 25-29 was 104.3 births per 1,000 women, and 101.4 births per 1,000 women ages 30-34.
The current average age for first-time mothers is 28, the report states.
Among teenage girls, the birth rate has dropped to 20.3 births for every 1,000 among 15-19 year olds, compared to 22.3 births per 1,000 in 2015.
Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy said it’s becoming more common to see older adults with children in elementary or high school. In addition, more teenagers are growing up with fewer of them getting pregnant. Albert said,
We always talk about peer pressure as a negative, but it can be a force for good.
However, a separate CDC report states that the overall birth rate in the USA has reached its lowest point since 1909, meaning the number of children being born has fallen significantly to 59.6 births per 1,000 women.
On the other end of the spectrum, the death rate also dropped in 2016 to 724 deaths per 100,000 people – a drop for the alarming increase in 2015, which health officials said was due to a spike in heart disease deaths.