There's a new type of baby boom among Generation X mamas: Back in 2006, 80% of women aged 40 to 44 gave birth. Fast-forward 10 years, though, and that number jumped to 86%, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center that analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
This rise in the rates of motherhood represents the first significant climb in 40 years—with the number of women who are mothers now back on par with the rates in the early 1990s. But there is one key difference from the 1990s: Back then, the average age of first-time mothers was 23. Now it’s 26. Not only are teenage pregnancy rates down and rates of women who become mothers later in life up, but the rates of women with post-graduate degrees who are mothers is significantly up (65% of women aged 40 to 44 with a Ph.D. were mothers in 1994; it rose to 80% in 2016).
Although women are having children later in life, they seem to be getting pretty busy when they are ready for motherhood. According to the new findings, American women now have an average of 2.07 children during their lifetimes, which is up from 1.86 in 2006. Among the mothers in that group, the average family size is now 2.42 children. This all signals that now—more than ever before—women have power in making the decision about when they want to become mothers. We have power in waiting until we have the right partner... We have power in getting help with fertility issues... We have power in obtaining out educations first... We have power in having the number of children that is right for our families... And we have power in a bigger, stronger community of mamas. ?