Wednesday, 10 December 2008

trends (2): mothers

Photo: Morguefile

There is a trend for Australian women to delay motherhood. A recent report (reflecting 2006 data) indicates that the average age of mothers giving birth is now almost 30, more than a year older than a decade ago.

The percentage of births to women aged over 35 has increased from 15% to 21%. The number of first births to women over 35 rose from 8% to 14%, and those over 30 rose from 28% to 41%. The number of women under 20 giving birth halved in the last decade.

Yet despite all this, the number of births in Australia jumped more than 10% over two years, after being pretty constant for almost a decade.

Commentators, including some mentioned in the report, suggest that financial uncertainty and large mortgages are major reasons for delaying childbirth, along with improvements in medical procedures and other social and educational factors.

As a result, household demographics have changed remarkably in 30 years:

  • the number of couples with dependent children fell from 48% to 37%;
  • the number of couples without children has risen from 28% to 37%;
  • the number of single parent families has risen from 7 to 11%.

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