Women over 40 more likely to have kids than those under 20

Women over 40 are now more likely to have children than those under 20, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS also reports a small increase in births in England and Wales since 2014, though the number of children each woman is having has fallen slightly.

The average age of mothers in 2015 increased to 30.3 years, compared with 30.2 years in 2014.

Elizabeth McLaren, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics, said: “The trend for women to have babies at older ages continued in 2015. Over the last 40 years, the percentage of live births to women aged 35 and over has increased considerably. Women aged 40 and over, now have a higher fertility rate than women aged under 20 – this was last recorded in the 1940s.”

The ONS has also released an article on the growth of part-time self-employment. It says the level of self-employed workers in the UK increased from 3.8 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2015. Its share of overall employment rose from 11.9% in 2001 to 13.0% just before the downturn and 14.6% in 2015 – a rise of 1.6 percentage points. Of this, 1.2 percentage points came from the part-time self-employed workers.

The article finds that self-employed older workers are much more likely than their younger colleagues to make the transition from full-time to part-time working and account for a larger portion of the growth in this  form of employment in recent years. It puts this down to a larger number of workers appear to be choosing part-time self-employment rather than retiring directly.

Some trends are common to both full- and part-time self-employment, says the article. Both groups of workers have seen their age profile get markedly older in recent years, both are increasingly concentrated in the finance and business services industry (which now accounts for nearly 25% of full-time, and nearly 30% of part-time self-employment). Both groups are relatively concentrated in higher occupational groups and in the South East and London, with full-time self-employed workers in particular becoming more concentrated in the capital.

The article suggests that self-employed workers are broadly content with their position in the labour market, with little evidence of older part-time self-employed workers wanting a full-time position, of job search or dissatisfaction with being self employed.

Of younger and mid-aged self-employed women, it says: “The growth in self-employment has not been accompanied by a rise in the number of people who would prefer to work full time, nor a clear uptick in the number of workers seeking an alternative job. Among younger part-time self-employed men, however, the picture is less certain. Larger portions of these workers display a greater degree of dissatisfaction with their part-time status and appear to have come directly from unemployment – possibly indicating a choice made under economic hardship. It is among these workers that evidence of under-employment is strongest.”

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