The average age of new mothers is rising in the US

First-time mothers are older than ever before as more women delay having children to further their work or education.
Posted at 4:44 PM, May 10, 2024

The average age of new mothers in the U.S. is 27, according to a 2024 report from the CDC.

It's a record high for the U.S. as teen pregnancies drop to record lows, more couples get married older, and women in general focus on their education, careers and financial stability before having children.

"A vast majority of young people do continue to want to have children, but they're delaying their childbearing," said Susan L. Brown, Bowling Green State University sociology professor. "And I think there are many reasons for this, whether they be economic, personal, familial or what have you."

Brown adds that as women start families later in life, "couples are more intentional about their childbearing."

A 2023 report from the University of Pennsylvania found that "college-educated mothers of young children are more likely to be employed" these days compared to mothers in the early 2000s.

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But despite working more, mothers in recent years are still spending time with their kids. A 2016 study from the University of California, Irvine, found that mothers spent twice as much time with their children in 2012 compared to mothers in 1965.

"As women have delayed their childbearing and we've seen smaller family sizes, we're seeing more investment in each child. And this has been termed 'intensive mothering,' that mothers — and fathers too, of course — are investing more resources on fewer children," Brown said. "And as we've ratcheted up the bar for what it means to be a good parent, I think the financial, psychological and other costs have climbed accordingly."

Brown notes that the increasing cost of child care in the U.S. is another reason why women are waiting to have children. In 2017, the USDA estimated it would cost parents more than $233,000 to raise a child born in 2015. And that doesn't include the annual cost of college.