One In Two 30-Year-Old Women Now Child-Free
The Guardian|January 28, 2022
Half of women now turn 30 without having children
Denis Campbell

Record numbers of women are reaching the age of 30 without having had children, new official figures show.

More than half (50.1%) of women in England and Wales born in 1990 turned 30 without having had a child, the first generation to do so, according to the Office for National Statistics .

That is almost three times higher than the lowest recorded number of women ever to be child-free at 30 – 17.9% of those born in 1941. The average number of children women have had by the age of 30 has fallen to its lowest-ever level (0.96).

The latest ONS data on childbirth also show that, while two-child families remain the norm, growing numbers of women are never becoming mothers or are having only one baby. The statistics confirm the major shift towards older motherhood that has taken place over recent years.

Experts have linked that phenomenon to advances by women in the workplace, the cost of rearing children and people taking longer than before to establish significant relationships.

“We continue to see a delay in childbearing, with women born in 1990 becoming the first cohort where half of the women remain childless by their 30th birthday,” said Amanda Sharfman of the ONS’s centre for ageing and demography.

“Levels of childlessness by age 30 have been steadily rising since a low of 18% for women born in 1941. Lower levels of fertility in those currently in their 20s indicate that this trend is likely to continue,” she added.

Among women who turned 45 last year almost one in five – 18% – were without children, a big rise compared with the 13% of their mothers’ generation who did not become a parent.

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