Half of Dutch mothers over fifty

There are 4.2 million mothers in the Netherlands. Half of these mothers are older than fifty, and many are also grandmothers or great-grandmothers. There are relatively few young mothers. No more than 5 percent of all mothers in the Netherlands are younger than thirty, 45 percent are aged between thirty and fifty.

Mothers by age, 1 January 2002

More than half of mothers still have children living at home. Some 350 thousand of these mothers are single parents; just over 2 million live together with partner and children. Of these, 200 thousand are not married to their partner. Approximately 1.9 million mothers are in the empty nest stage: all their children have left home.

Mothers with children at home, 1 January 2002

First-time mothers

Every year some 90 thousand women in the Netherlands have their first baby. The average age of these first-time mothers is 29 years. In the mid seventies first-time mothers were 25 years on average. In those days, only one in fifty women were 35 or older when they had their first baby. Today this is one in eight.

First child by mother’s age

Long delay

Ten years ago Dutch women were having their first babies later than women in other European Union countries. Today, women in Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom are also postponing the birth of their first child. The average age at which women in these countries have their first baby is even a few months higher than in the Netherlands. On average, women in the EU have passed the age of 27 before they have their first baby.

Young mothers

Even though women in the United Kingdom wait a long time before they start a family, this country has the highest rate of teenage motherhood. Every year, thirty per thousand 15-19 year-old girls in the UK have a baby. The Netherlands has the lowest rate of teenage mothers in Europe, with 7 per thousand girls a year in this age category.

Jan Latten, Helma Schapendonk