Tags: Health Topics | women | pew research center | baby bust

Increasing Numbers of Mothers Debunking the 'Baby Bust'

Increasing Numbers of Mothers Debunking the 'Baby Bust'
(Andrew Matthews/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 18 January 2018 07:39 PM

Women are waiting longer, but are more likely to have children than a decade ago — a trend that counters data pointing to an ominous "baby bust," a new study showed.

According to the Pew Research Center analysis of census data, 86 percent of women ages 40 to 44 are mothers, up from 80 percent in 2006, reversing decades of declines.

Woman are also having more children than in the past, the analysis showed, finding women have 2.07 children during their lives on average – up from 1.86 in 2006, the lowest number on record.

Among those who are mothers, family size has also inched up. In 2016, mothers at the end of their childbearing years had had about 2.42 children, compared with a low of 2.31 in 2008.

Lyman Stone, an adviser at Demographic Intelligence who writes about demographics and economics, told The New York Times, however, he is still concerned about the national birthrate.

"The extent of the delay and decline in fertility for younger women is so vast that to recover it in later years sort of boggles the mind," he told the Times.

The Pew analysis noted the rise in motherhood and fertility and data showing a "baby bust" trend in the United States are each based on a different type of measurement.

Pew's analysis used a cumulative measure of lifetime fertility, the number of births a woman has ever had; reports of declining U.S. fertility are based on annual rates, the research center said.

For example, one factor driving down annual fertility rates is women are becoming mothers later in life, with the median age at which women become mothers in the United States now 26, compared with 23 in 1994, Pew pointed out.

In the mid-1990s, the analysis noted, 22 percent of women in their early 40s had had a child before age 20; in 2014, that share had dropped to 13 percent.

And while 53 percent of women in their early 40s in 1994 had become mothers by age 24, this share was 39 percent among those who were in this age group in 2014.

The analysis also found the biggest increases in motherhood since the 1990s were in groups of women with higher education; 80 percent of women with professional degrees or doctorates have a child by the time they are 44, compared with 65 percent two decades ago.

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More women are having babies than a decade ago, but they are waiting longer to do so, according to the Pew Research Center analysis of census data.
women, pew research center, baby bust
Thursday, 18 January 2018 07:39 PM
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