New statistics reveal the most common age for childbirth for women born in 1974

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04 December 2020
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Women in England and Wales born in 1974 had their first child on average eight years later than those born in 1948, new data from the Office for National Statistics reveals.

The new data revealed that:

  • Women in England and Wales born in 1974, who completed their childbearing in 2019, had on average 1.92 children, a slight increase on women born in 1973 (1.89 children)
  • Nearly half (49%) of women born in 1989 (the most recent cohort to reach age 30 years) remained childless by their 30th birthday, compared with 38% for their mothers’ generation and just over a fifth for their grandmothers’ generation (1961 and 1934 cohorts respectively)
  • The most common age at childbirth for women born in 1974 was 31 years, an increase compared with 23 years for their mothers’ generation born in 1948
  • Two-children families remain the most common family size (37%) but a similar proportion of women born in 1974 had either no children or just one child (36% combined)

Average completed family size

Commenting on today’s findings Amanda Sharfman, Centre for Ageing and Demography, Office for National Statistics said: “Average completed family size has been falling since the cohort of women born in 1935 and has been below two children since the late 1950s cohorts. Following a low of 1.89 children for women born in the previous two year’s cohorts, we see a slight rise to 1.92 for women born in 1974.

"We continue to see a delay in childbearing, with nearly half of women born in 1989 remaining childless by their 30th birthday compared to 1 in 5 in their grandmother’s generation. The fertility patterns of women born more recently indicate this trend is likely to continue, with women born in 1995 showing lower levels of fertility in their 20s compared with previous cohorts.”

See the full release on the ONS website.