Mommy Oldest: Societal Consequences Of Delayed Child-Bearing

The Washington Post reports some very interesting demographic information: Women are having children older and there are more women over 35 than teenage women having babies. What will this mean?

Here’s their guess:

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.

The average age at which women have their first child is 25, a year older than in 1990.

“It’s clear that young adult transitions are being postponed,” said Suzanne Bianchi, a sociologist at UCLA. “Children born to highly educated mothers increasingly are born later in life. The mothers are usually married, and they have a much higher chance of raising children in a stable marriage that lasts through a child’s childhood.”

The delay in getting married also helps explain two seemingly contradictory trends. The number of unwed mothers has risen sharply in the United States, so that about four out of every 10 births are to unmarried women, which includes most births to women in their early 20s. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of women who have never had children.

Here’s my guess:

There will be more motherless children because mothers are older and more likely to get cancers and other diseases in their forties.

There will be less children born to women who would have been good mothers–simply because they’ve waited so long and they’ve lost their fertility.

The mothers will have smaller families, the mother will be older, the kids will be more coddled, if that were possible.

Parents will be caught between two generations–their parents and their young children.

Basically, the generations are stretching out. Is this a good thing? I don’t know. It seems like a harder thing for families. It’s tough enough being a mom, being a mom and a caretaker while working? That’s a lot tougher.

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