Average Age of Mothers is on the Rise in the United States

A mother’s age at birth, and particularly the mean or “average” age when a mother has her first child, is of interest to researchers and the public. Mean age can affect the total number of births a mother has over a lifetime, which in turn impacts the composition and growth of the U.S. population.

Age of mother is associated with a range of birth outcomes, such as multiple births and birth defects. An earlier report presented trends in mean age from 1970 to 2000.

An NCHS report presents trends in the mean age at first and higher birth orders by race and Hispanic origin of mother and by state from 2000 to 2014.

Findings:

  • The mean age of mothers has increased from 2000 to 2014 for all birth orders, with age at first birth having the largest increase, up from 24.9 years in 2000 to 26.3 years in 2014.
  • Increases in the average age for all birth orders were most pronounced from 2009 to 2014.
  • In 2014, Asian or Pacific Islander mothers had the oldest average age at first birth (29.5 years), while American Indian or Alaska Native mothers had the youngest (23.1 years).
  • Mean age at first birth increased in all states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) from 2000 to 2014, but D.C. (3.4 years) and Oregon had the largest increases (2.1 years).
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