Posted: August 13, 2015 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY
Why U.S. Women Are Now Opting for Children Later On In Life
Surely we have all heard the jokes regarding our “ticking biological clocks” as we turn yet another year older with no baby on our hip. When it comes to having children, many of us have a timeline in mind but today, that timeline spans much further out than ever before. So why are women waiting to start their families?
Let’s look at the many reasons we are seeing this change:
Increasing Focus on Education and Career
Unlike our grandparent’s generation, women are now putting their education and careers first. While the idea of being a housewife is something still embraced by many women today, so is the idea of prioritizing a career over finding a man to marry and having children right away. Findings from the CDC support this. Since 2000, 46 states and DC have seen a rise in the age women are having their first baby at 35 years of age.
Another factor relating to careers and pregnancy is that currently in the U.S. the workforce isn’t 100% conducive for women who want to have a baby and still excel in their careers. This too leads many women to focus on their careers at a younger age and opt for starting a family later in life.
Desire to Reach Financial Security Prior to Reproducing
Before women entered the workplace, the ability to raise a child in a financially secure home most commonly fell under the duties of the father. Today, the majority of women in the United States are seeking out education and careers. Reports have shown that older first-time mothers are generally better educated and have higher incomes than the young first-time mothers.
Improvements in Health Care Leads to Longer Lives
Today, thanks to constant advancements in medicine, we are living much longer, healthier lives than our ancestors. There is no longer a rush to get married, have children and so on. While there are additional concerns about pregnancy over the age of 40, medicine has come a long way for these older first-time mothers.
Better Access to Birth Control
In the decades prior to birth control pills, unintended pregnancies were very common. Women who did not necessarily plan on starting a family suddenly found their method of birth control failed and they were now thrown in to the reality of becoming a mother. In the United States today, women are experiencing greater access to birth control pills than ever before. This is yet another reason that women are waiting later in life to have children.
Studies Have Found It Leads to Longer Life
A recent study revealed that women who have their last babies after the age of 33 actually live longer lives. This research from the New England Centenarian Study concluded that women who had their last child after the age of 33 doubled their chances of living to 95 when compared to women who had their last child at the age of 30 or younger.