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Record numbers of women enter their 30s child-free

Record numbers of women are reaching the age of 30 child-free, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Amanda Sharfman, of the Centre for Ageing and Demography at the Office for National Statistics, commented:

"We continue to see a delay in childbearing, with women born in 1990 becoming the first cohort where half of the women remain childless by their 30th birthday. Levels of childlessness by age 30 have been steadily rising since a low of 18% for women born in 1941. Lower levels of fertility in those currently in their 20s indicate that this trend is likely to continue.

"The average number of children born to a woman has been below two for women born since the late 1950s. While two child families are still the most common, women who have recently completed their childbearing are more likely than their mothers' generation to have only one child or none at all."

The official figures show that women in England and Wales born in 1975 who completed their childbearing years in 2020, had on average 1.92 children, no change from those born in 1974 but a lower average compared with the 2.08 for their mothers' generation (assumed to be born in 1949).

Two child families remain the most common family size (37 per cent), however this is a decrease in the proportion of those having two children compared with their mothers' generation born in 1949 (44 per cent).

Of women aged 45 years and born in 1975 who had completed their childbearing years in 2020, 18 per cent were childless, with 17 per cent having only one child, both of which are increases compared with their mothers' generation (both 13 per cent).

The most common age for women born in 1975 to give birth was 31 years, an increase compared with 22 years for their mothers' generation born in 1949.

Half of women (50 per cent) born in 1990 (the most recent cohort to reach age 30 years) remained childless by their 30th birthday; this is the first cohort where half remain childless by 30 years of age.

For the full figures, click here.