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Women Who Wait to Start a Family are Career and Education Oriented.

Update Date: Sep 10, 2012 11:00 AM EDT
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With the traditional roles of men and women are shifting to make way for an increased importance on the latters independence, self-sufficiency and educational pursuits, women are having children later in life. Though biologically women reach their prime child bearing age at 16-years-old, this will no doubt change as modern medicine allows for increased longevity and women continue to choose self-improvement over creating a family.

At least that is what researchers from Southampton University reveal in a study that claims finishing full-time education and training at an older average age is the main reason why people are having their first child later in life.

 According to statistics from the Pew Research Center, Mothers of newborns are older now than their counterparts were two decades ago. In 1990, teens had a higher share of all births (13 percent) than did women ages 35 and older (9 percent). In 2008, the reverse was true -- 10 percent of births were to teens, compared with 14 percent to women ages 35 and older. Each race and ethnic group had a higher share of mothers of newborns in 2008 who are ages 35 and older, and a lower share who are teens, than in 1990.

The statistics also noted that compared with mothers of newborns in 1990, today's mothers of newborns are older and better educated. Perhaps most telling is that they are less likely to be married.

This last finding is why researchers say higher education for women is not only trending but a necessity. While marriage and childbearing were synonymous for past generations (seen up until the mid 1970's as taboo to have a bastard and raise it as a single mother), men are increasingly undependable, forcing women to establish themselves financially before having or raising a child.

Máire Ní Bhrolcháin and Dr Éva Beaujouan of the ESRC Center for Population Change at the University explains, "Later childbearing has been a major feature of fertility trends in recent decades, both in Britain and other developed countries. A large number of explanations have been suggested for the trend towards later parenthood, but our study is the first to show that the major influencing factor is that people have been staying on longer in education and training, with less empasis on relationships and family."

However, researchers say that if we start to gauge fruitful child bearing years less by biological readiness and more by mental and financial capabilities " the delay to motherhood, compared across the decades, is much less than looking purely at the differences in their ages at their first birth,"  as quoted from a press report by Southampton. 

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