Majority of Babies Now Born to Massachusetts Women Are Older Than 30

by | May 20, 2024 | Children |

The average age of a new mom in America and in Massachusetts is over 30, according to new data.

Over half of babies born in 2023 were to women in their thirties, provisional data from the CDC data shows, edging out those in the teens and twenties.

Meanwhile, a record number of women had their first child in their forties – with 12.6 per 1,000 births among women aged 40 to 44 last year.

Experts have attributed the shift to a rising cost of living throughout the US and women prioritizing their careers and educations before settling down to start a family, as well as the availability of IVF .

The rise of older mothers has also sparked debate about whether women waiting to have children are at risk of complications or fit into a ‘maternal sweet spot’ thanks to more stability and resources.

Provisional data from the CDC’s Wonder database found that about half of babies in the US are born to women over 30, while births to younger moms have declined

Teen pregnancies, on the other hand, hit a record low, with 13.6 births per 1,000 women. This was down two percent from the year before, though was still higher than the rate for women over 40.

And once the norm, an all-time low amount of women had babies in their early twenties. The birth rate for women ages 20 to 24 dropped from 61.5 per 1,000 the year before to 57.5 per 1,000.

The CDC’s report found that there were 3.67 million births in the US in 2022, which researchers said was ‘essentially unchanged from 2021.’

Though there was a one percent increase in births from 2019 to 2020, this average fell by one percent per year from 2014 to 2019. ‘Previously, the number of births declined by an average two percent per year from 2007 to 2013 and increased one percent in 2014,’ the researchers wrote.

The data was part of the National Vital Statistics Report on 2022 birth data, produced by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Provisional data for 2023 was collected via CDC’s Wonder database.

The figures are collected from birth certificates registered in all 50 states and DC, as well as US territories like Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands.

The overall birth rate for women over 40 was 12.6 per 1,000 births, an all-time high.

This increased from 12 in 2021. For women over 50, when menopause typically hits, that rate was 1.2 per 10,000, up from 0.9 in 2021. The researchers said that this metric is calculated as a rate per 10,000 due to the lower number of births in this category.

The rate was highest in women ages 30 to 34, with 97.5 per 1,000. However, this remained virtually unchanged from 2021. For women ages 25 to 29, the birth rate was 93.5 per 1,000.

Older moms were most common in Washington DC , with 24.5 per 1,000 births being to women ages 40 to 44.

Gretchen Livingston, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center who collected DC birth data in 2019, told WAMU that a ‘huge factor is education level, as women in DC are more likely to have advanced degrees and demanding government jobs.

From 2002 to 2019, the share of women aged 15-45 with at least one child dropped from 59.9 percent to 52.1 percent, a fall of an eighth.

‘We have a very highly educated population around here, and generally, the more education a person has, the lower their fertility,’ she said.

According to the DC Office of Planning, over 55 percent of women in DC have at least a bachelor’s degree, and one in three have a graduate or professional degree.

Marriage could also be a factor, Livingston said. ‘There’s a lot of people who may be just haven’t gotten to the point of getting married.’

‘On one hand, we hear so much about non-marital birth, [but] the fact is that a married person is far more likely to have a baby than an unmarried one.’

New York and New Jersey followed closely behind with 18.8 and 17.4 births per 1,000, respectively, and California and Hawaii rounded out the top five.

This could be due to both states having large urban areas like New York City, Jersey City, and Newark.

West Virginia, meanwhile, had the lowest rate of first-time moms over 40. Just 6.1 per 1,000 births were to women ages 40 to 44, the data found.

Just one in five women over 25 have a bachelor’s degree in the Mountain state, research has found, though that is an increase of eight percent since 2000.

Additionally, 17.9 percent of people in the state (roughly 308,000) live in poverty.

Both of these factors could increase the chance of women having children at younger ages.

West Virginia had significantly higher rates of births for moms in their 20s, with 81.1 for women ages 20 to 24 and 107.6 for women ages 25 to 29.

In terms of first time moms ages 40 to 44, Minnesota and Wyoming followed closely behind with 6.9 and 7.3 births per 1,000 women, respectively.

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