Average age of first-time mothers up to 29.9 years

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
The mean age at which women in the Netherlands give birth to their first child has advanced once again. In 2018, Dutch women were on average 29.9 years old when delivering their first child. This was still six months younger in 2013 (29.4 years). Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of recently released figures.

Until the early 1970s, the mean age of women at first birth declined to end at 24.3 years. This has gone up continuously ever since and now stands at over 29 years. The upward trend appeared to have ended after the turn of the century. For some time afterwards, the mean age of first-time mothers remained stable at 29.4 years. However, it has advanced again since 2014.

Mean age of mothers at birth of first child (yrs)
 Mean age at birth of first child
195825.9
195925.8
196025.6
196125.4
196225.2
196325.0
196424.9
196524.7
196624.6
196724.5
196824.4
196924.3
197024.3
197124.3
197224.5
197324.7
197424.8
197525.0
197625.1
197725.3
197825.4
197925.5
198025.6
198125.7
198225.8
198326.0
198426.2
198526.5
198626.8
198727.0
198827.2
198927.3
199027.5
199127.7
199228.0
199328.3
199428.4
199528.6
199628.9
199729.0
199829.1
199929.1
200029.1
200129.2
200229.2
200329.3
200429.4
200529.4
200629.4
200729.4
200829.4
200929.4
201029.4
201129.4
201229.4
201329.4
201429.5
201529.6
201629.7
201729.8
201829.9

75.5 thousand women are first-time mothers

In 2018, 75.5 thousand women in the Netherlands gave birth to their first child. This number is lower than in previous years. In 2013, there were 79.5 thousand new mothers; this was still over 83 thousand in 2008. Likewise, there have been fewer second and subsequent births over the past few years. There were 168.5 thousand live births in 2018, over 1 thousand fewer than in the previous year. For the first time since the mid-1980s, fewer than 170 thousand live births were recorded that year.

Fewer young first-time mothers

The number of young first-time mothers in particular has declined in recent years. In 2018, 35 thousand women between the ages of 20 and 30 gave birth to their first child, against 40 thousand in 2013. When set off against the total number of women in this age group, the number of first-time mothers is down as well.
When taking into account the female population in the separate age groups, a slight increase is seen in the number of first-time mothers aged between 40 and 45 years. In 2018, there were fewer women in this age group compared to 2013. The majority of first-time mothers are around 30 years old.

First-born children by age of mother (x 1,000)
 200820132018
Under 20 yrs1.7781.3050.877
20 to 24 yrs11.96210.9268.097
25 to 29 yrs29.10628.77626.815
30 to 34 yrs27.94426.81228.157
35 to 39 yrs10.7019.5259.457
40 to 44 yrs1.7671.9931.983


These developments have led to a lower share of 25-year-old women with one or more children. At the start of 2010, nearly 19 percent of 25-year-old women were mothers, against over 14 percent in 2019. This difference is smaller among 30-year-olds: nearly 49 percent were mothers in 2010, against over 47 percent at the start of 2019.

Motherhood postponed in other EU countries as well

The Netherlands is not the only country where the mean age of first-time mothers has gone up. In virtually all countries of the European Union, the mean age was higher in 2017 than in 2013. Italy and Spain record the highest mean age at first birth: around 31 years. At around 26 years, Bulgarian and Romanian mothers are the youngest, but even in these two countries the mean age at first birth has advanced.

Mean age of first-time mothers in the EU (yrs)
 20172013
Italy31.130.6
Spain30.930.4
Luxembourg30.830.0
Greece30.429.9
Ireland30.329.6
Netherlands29.929.4
Cyprus29.729.0
Germany29.629.3
Portugal29.628.9
Denmark29.429.0
Austria29.328.8
Sweden29.329.1
European Union29.128.7
Finland29.128.5
Belgium29.028.5
Malta29.028.4
United Kingdom28.928.3
Slovenia28.828.5
France28.728.1
Croatia28.628.0
Czech Republic28.228.1
Hungary28.027.7
Estonia27.726.5
Lithuania27.526.7
Poland27.326.7
Slovakia27.126.9
Latvia26.926.1
Romania26.525.9
Bulgaria26.125.7
Source: CBS, Eurostat