Births to women over 40 go up
The number of women under 30 having children has dropped, particularly women under 20, while fertility rates for women over 40 increased by nearly seven per cent, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
The figures for 2010 and 2011 show the largest decrease was for women under 20 where fertility fell by 8.7 per cent. Fertility rates for women aged 20–24 and 25–29 fell by smaller amounts (2.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively).
In contrast, fertility rates for women aged 30-34 and 35–39 rose by 0.1 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively. The fertility rate for women aged 40 and over increased by 6.7 per cent, continuing the trend of the last two decades, during which the number of live births to mothers aged 40 and over has almost trebled from 9,835 in 1991 to 29,350 in 2011.
These changes in age-specific fertility rates have resulted in the average age of mother rising to 29.7 years in 2011. The rise in 2011 represents a continuation of increasing age of mother recorded since 1975, says the ONS. These trends reflect the increasing numbers of women delaying childbearing to later ages. The ONS says: "This may be due to a number of factors such as increased participation in higher education, the desire to establish a career, getting on the housing ladder and ensuring financial stability before starting a family."