More older mothers

22/08/2006 14:00

In 2005, 188 thousand babies were born in the Netherlands. One quarter of these babies had a mother aged 35 years or older; 6.5 thousand of them even had a mother aged 40 years or older. The number of women over 40 having a baby has not been this high since 1970. 

More and more older mothers

The number of children born in the Netherlands has been falling since 2000. In that year 207 thousand babies were born. In 2005 this had dropped to 188 thousand. In spite of the decrease, the number of older mothers is increasing. More than 46 thousand of the women who had a baby in 2005 were aged 35 years or older. In 1995 only 31 thousand women aged 35 years or older had a baby.

Live births by mother’s age

Live births by mother’s age

More first children in particular

This is the first time since 1970 that women aged 40 years and older had so many children. At that time the women concerned were giving birth to fourth or higher order children. Fewer than 10 percent of them were having a first child at that age. For one quarter of women aged 40 years or older having a baby in 2005 it was their first child.

More mothers over 30

Part of the increase in the number of mothers aged 35 years and older is accounted for by the fact that there are more of these women. In addition, more of them have children. In 2005, 62 out of every thousand women aged between 35 and 40 years gave birth. In 1995 this was only 45 per thousand. Moreover women aged 30 to 35 years have more children on average.

Live births per 1,000 women

Live births per 1,000 women

Women postponing first child to enjoy their freedom

Women give a number of reasons for postponing pregnancy until after the age of 30. Half or them report wanting to enjoy their freedom. Just over one quarter named work and a career as the reason. One quarter also mentioned not having a partner and the same number were uncertain about whether they wanted children at all.

Reasons for becoming a mother after the age of 29

Reasons for becoming a mother after the age of 29

Arie de Graaf and Suzanne Loozen