ONS releases birth statistics

The Office of National Statistics has revealed figures relating to family life in England and Wales. Among the findings are the average age for mothers in 2011 was 29.7.

Why are women waiting to get pregnant?

A spokesman for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said that the fall in the average age of mothers since 1973 could be due to several factors:

Possible influences include increased participation in higher education, increased female participation in the labour force, the increasing importance of a career, the rising opportunity costs of child-bearing, labour market uncertainty, housing factors and instability of partnerships.

– ONS spokesman

More women are delaying childbirth until their 30s

Live births by age group for mother, 1938-2011 Credit: Office for National Statistics

Just under 50% of women are waiting until they reach 30 to give birth, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In 2010, 48% of all infants born were to mothers aged 30 and over, up from 47% in 2009 and 46% in 2000.

The last time so many babies were born to women of this age was after the Second World War, in 1946.

The proportion of mothers under the age of 25 has fallen steadily since its peak in the early Seventies.

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Half of babies born into married homes in 2011

This graph shows the relationship status of parents registering births in 1986, 2001 and 2011
This graph shows the relationship status of parents registering births in 1986, 2001 and 2011 Credit: Office for National Statistics

Just over half (53%) of all babies registered in 2011 were born to parents who were married or in a civil partnership, according to figures from the ONS.

The figure is a substantial drop from 1986 when the proportion was closer to 80%.

However, the number of births registered by sole parents (almost 6%) has fallen since 2001 while more parents are co-habiting (31%).