According to preliminary 2016 data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the birth rate among women aged 30 to 34 last year just barely surpassed that of women aged 25 to 29, the demographic with the highest birth rate for more than three decades.
Nora Caplan Bricker at Slate writes, “That means that first-time mothers are older, broadly speaking, than they were as recently as 2014, when the CDC put the average age of first birth at 26.3. The change is due in large part to a continuing decline in the teen birth rate.”
She continues: “In many ways, this attitude, and the milestone marked by the new CDC data, represents a gain for women. As Rebecca Traister wrote in her 2016 book All the Single Ladies, the social permission to delay marriage and childbirth—as well the as the biological ability to do so, first through the use of reliable birth control, now with the help of the booming fertility industry—has given women the freedom to define themselves through means other than motherhood. As recently as 1970, the mean age of first birth was just 21, giving most women precious little time to pursue education, adventure, and professional achievement.”