A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms a recent trend: women in America are waiting until they are older to begin having children. The report says that the average age of women having a child for the first time in the U.S. is 26. Alexandra Sifferlin analyzes the trend and its consequences:

The researchers note that since the year 2000, the average age of women having their first child went up in all states. It rose 1.9 years or more in Washington, D.C., California, Oregon, and Utah, and by less than a year for women in Connecticut, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia.

“Over the past several decades, the United States continued to have a larger number of first births to older women along with fewer births to mothers under age 20,” the study authors write. “This trend and the more recent uptick in delayed initial childbearing can affect the number of children a typical woman will have in her lifetime, family size, and for the overall population change in the United States.”


Some of the reasons why the mean age of new mothers is on the rise include women who are staying in school longer, choosing to work, delaying marriage, and waiting to have children. Sifferlin reveals other reasons why the number is skewing higher:

[T]he teen birth rate in the United States is at an all-time low. The national teen pregnancy rate has also dropped significantly. Precisely why this has occurred is not fully understood, but some evidence suggests teens are less sexually active than the past, and teens that are engaging in sex are using birth control more often than before. Young people may also be using more effective forms of birth control, like IUDs and implants.