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Spain has highest number first-time mothers over 40 in the EU

The Local Spain
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Spain has highest number first-time mothers over 40 in the EU
Spain has the highest percentage of first-time mothers over 40 in the EU

Almost eleven percent of births in Spain are to mothers over 40 years of age, a new study has discovered.

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More and more women in Spain are waiting to become mothers and the numbers are increasing every year, according to a recent study prepared by FUNCAS, a Spain-based think tank.

The percentage of older mothers went from 1.8 percent in 1993 to 10.7 percent in 2021. The numbers have multiplied by six since 1993 and are double the rates of some neighboring countries.

In 1981 the average age a woman gave birth in Spain stood at 28.2 years. In 1996 it went up to 30 years and currently, it stands at 32.6 years, the second oldest in the entire EU, only behind Ireland, where the average age is 32.7 years.

READ ALSO - Readers reveal: What it's really like to give birth in Spain 

Co-author of the study María Miyar explains that the data is a reflection of social evolution; "In the 70s, babies born to older mothers corresponded to being the youngest within large families, but now maternity is delayed in families that end up having fewer children”.  

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This is not the only cause of this change in figures, however, it’s also down to several factors including financial situations, women having more prominent careers than they used to, a change in social norms, and higher infertility rates.

A recent study for example found that two out of three Spaniards continue to live with their parents at age 34, meaning that they're not in a position to be financially dependent enough to start their own families in their mid-30s and are forced to wait longer. 

READ ALSO: Why, despite rise in youth employment, Spaniards continue to live at home age 34

While Spain has the highest number of babies born to mothers over 40 at 10.7 percent there are several neighboring European nations that are close behind. Greece has a total of 9.7 percent, Italy 8.7 percent and Portugal at 8.6 percent.  

However, the rates in Spain are double those registered in northern or central European countries such as France at 5.1 percent, Germany at 4.9 percent and Sweden at 4.6 percent.

There is also a disparity between various regions within Spain. The highest percentage of births to older mothers occurs in Galicia at 14.4 percent, followed by Asturias at 12.4 percent, Madrid at 12.3 percent and Cantabria at 12.2 percent.

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