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Denmark Sees Dramatic Shift: First-Time Mothers’ Average Age Approaches 30

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The average age for first-time mothers in Denmark is now just under 30 years old – a significant increase in age since 1960.

Since 1960 and up to the present day, women have become more than seven years older when they give birth to their first child. Last year, the average age for first-time mothers reached just under 30 years old. At the same time, the percentage of first-time mothers aged at least 40 years has significantly increased. This is according to a new analysis from Statistics Denmark.

In 1960, the average age for first-time mothers was 23.1 years old. Since then, the average age of new mothers has risen, and in 2022, it had reached 29.9 years.

-“The fact that women began having children later in life from the late 1960s can be seen in light of the introduction of the birth control pill in 1966. Shortly after, in 1973, the right to free abortion was introduced. Over the years, both the educational level and employment for women have increased, which may have further contributed to this trend,” says Fenja Søndergaard Møller, a special consultant at Statistics Denmark.

The average age of first-time mothers is generally highest in capital municipalities and lowest in rural municipalities. The highest average age in the years 2018-2022 was in Dragør Municipality (31.8 years), while the lowest was in Lolland Municipality (27.0 years).

Fewer young and more older first-time mothers

Over the decades, young mothers under 25 years old have become an increasingly smaller group of first-time mothers. In 1973, mothers under 25 years old made up 63 percent of first-time mothers, while the percentage in 2022 had decreased to 12 percent.

At the same time, the group of the oldest first-time mothers aged at least 40 years has grown: In 1972, they accounted for 0.2 percent of all first-time mothers, while in 2022, they accounted for 2.8 percent.

-“The trend of women having children later and later was expected. But it has been surprising that the difference from around 60 years ago to today is as significant as it is,” says Fenja Søndergaard Møller.

The percentage of married first-time mothers has declined significantly
One-third (32 percent) of all first-time mothers in 2022 were married at the time of giving birth. This figure varies significantly by origin: Among first-time mothers of Danish origin, 26 percent were married. For immigrants from non-Western countries, it was 70 percent.

The percentage of married first-time mothers has generally declined significantly over the past 50 years. In 1973, when the first available data on the marital status of first-time mothers is from, the percentage was 72 percent – and only 32 percent in 2022.

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