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Study: More Children Being Born to Women Over 35 Than to Teens

by Carol Morello,  Washington Post,  May 6, 2009
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More children are born to women older than 35 than to teenagers, a change born of medical science, later marriages and evolving attitudes about motherhood, according to a new study released Thursday.

The Pew Research Center, citing census and government health statistics, said the trend toward mothers who are older and better educated cuts across all ethnicities in the United States.

Between 1990 and 2008, the number of births to mothers older than 35 leapt from 368,000 to 603,000. One in seven babies -- or 14 percent of a total of about 4 million births -- were born to older mothers in 2008. Almost one in four were first-time mothers. The vast majority, 71 percent, had at least some college education before giving birth.

By contrast, births to women younger than 20 declined from 533,000 in 1990 to 441,000 in 2008, or one in 10 babies. The teenage birthrate has declined steadily since 1990, except for a spike in 2006 and 2007.

The statistics reflect far-reaching changes for women in society, affecting their decisions on when to marry and start families. The average age for marriage has been rising, as has the share of women who have attended college. Women with more education often delay marriage and childbearing while they complete their schooling and establish careers. Read more.


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