LIFESTYLE Mature mothers become majority

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The Independent Online
British women giving birth in their early thirties have for the first time overtaken those having children in their early twenties, according to a new survey.

Combined with the increase in fertility rates for women in their late thirties, the survey from the Office for National Statistics confirms the trend towards women starting their families later in life. It showed that in 1994 the number of live births per 1,000 women were 90 for the 30-34 age group, compared to 80 for women aged 20 to 24. The findings represent a turnaround from as recently as 1991. The report also showed that for the first time, women in their late 30s were producing more children than teenage girls, at 38 births per 1,000 women, compared with 25 per thousand in the teenage group. The decision to have children did not affect the steady increase of women working, the survey indicated. During the most fertile time, 25-34 years, women in the labour force rose from 61 per cent in 1984 to 72 per cent in 1994, and the figure is expected to be 80 per cent by 2006. Glenda Cooper