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Average age of first-time U.S. moms hits record high of 26

The increase is credited to a sharp drop in teen motherhood in the last 15 years and an increase in older women having children.
By Stephen Feller   |   Jan. 14, 2016 at 10:35 AM

ATLANTA, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The average age of first-time mothers in the United States has hit a record high of 26, based on a big decline in teen mothers and an increase in older women having children.

The rise in age continues a 15-year trend in all 50 states that has sped up since 2009, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

Increases in the availability of birth control and more women pursuing career opportunities before having children have played a significant role in the age increase, though the drop in mothers under 20 is among the most significant explanations, researchers said.

"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," CDC researchers write in the report. "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."

According to data collected by the CDC, the mean age of first-time mothers increased from 24.9 years old in 2000 to 26.3 years old in 2014. The largest shift was seen from 2009, when the average age was 25.2.

All states and Washington, D.C., saw increases from 2000 to 2014, with the largest in the District of Columbia and Oregon. Asian and Pacific Islander mothers had the oldest average age at first birth at 29.5 years, and the youngest at first birth were American Indian or Alaska native mothers at 23.1 years.

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