Shrinking Motherhood

Shrinking Motherhood

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day in the U.S., but demographics tell us that mothers make up a smaller percentage of the population than at any time in at least the last quarter century.  Today, only about 26% of Americans are women who currently have or have had children, and only 15% of Americans are mothers living with their own children.  (See graph).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, mothers today tend to be older than in the past; where once the peak childbearing age for American Women was 25-29 years old, today the peak is in the 30-34 age range.  Childbearing among women under 20 has fallen by half or more in the last half-century, as increasingly-educated women delay marriage and make effective use of contraception.  Meanwhile, the biological potential for older women to have children is improving thanks to a panoply of fertility-enhancing medications.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that mothers are in danger of becoming a vanishing breed.  But perhaps when Mother’s Day rolls around again, we can add to the holiday, and appreciate all women who contribute meaningfully to our lives.


Post by Bob Veres

Bob Veres, a Financial Planning columnist in San Diego, is publisher of Inside Information, an information service for financial advisors.

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