Today’s mothers are older on average than were new mothers roughly 20 years ago. In 2008, there were more births to women age 35 and older (14% of all births that year) than to women younger than age 20 (10%). In 1990, the pattern was reversed; 13% of all births were to teenagers while just 9% of births were to women older than age 35. In both years, however, the vast majority children were born to women between the ages of 20 and 34; 75% of births in 2008 were to women in this age bracket. Also in 2008, the average age of a woman who had a baby was 27, up from 26 in 1990. Births to older women increased among all major racial and ethnic groups. Between 1990 and 2008 births to women ages 35 and older grew by 64%, and increases were steepest for women in the oldest age groups — 47% for women ages 35-39 and 80% for women ages 40-44. This delay in the age of motherhood is associated with delay in age of marriage and with growing educational attainment. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.