Q and A: Gen Y family formers

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What is now the most common age of women when they have their first baby; how has this changed in Australia and what are the forecasts?

Generation Y has transformed the lifestages that once marked adulthood and independence. The age of leaving home, starting full time employment, getting a mortgage, marriage and starting a family have all been pushed back later in life. Four decades ago, the median age of females giving birth was 25, while today it is 30.7. Similarly, the median age of females at first birth has been pushed five years later to 29.3. Indeed the age group with the highest fertility rate (births per female) are those 30-34, well above the second category of those aged 25-29, and of all age years from 20-39, the only one that has been growing over this decade are those aged 35-39.

The reasons for the delays in starting families and the rise of older parents are numerous. Generation Y are staying in education longer and starting their earnings later than their parents did. While 1 in 5 Baby Boomers has a university degree and 1 in 4 Gen Xers, for Generation Y it is 1 in 3. Generation Y is the first generation where females have a higher level of formal education than males with 29% of males aged 25-34 holding a university degree compared to 40% of females in this age group. But this increased education comes at the price of delayed earnings and a university debt. Additionally, this generation are beginning their economic lives in times of growing living costs and declining housing affordability. Four decades ago, the average capital city house price was the equivalent of 5 times average annual earnings, by the mid 90s it had stretched to 6 times, while today it is 10 times average annual earnings. In Sydney the median city house price is more than 13 times average annual full time earnings of $72,000.

While the economic, educational and social trends have pushed back the age of starting families, there are biological limits to this trend. Over the last few decades, IVF technology has provided fertility assistance to women in their 30s who are part of this delayed parenting trend, however as fertility expert William Ledger, Professor of Medicine at UNSW points out, “beyond the age of 40, the success rate of IVF has barely moved since the first test tube baby was born in the 1970s”. Scientific advances such as egg freezing and fertility testing continue to assist those who are past the traditional child bearing age, however reversing the chromosomal changes to eggs as women age has not yet become a reality. Generation Z who enter their 20s this year may follow the Generation Y experience by responding to these biological realities and scientific limitations by balancing their family forming years amidst their career and financial goals rather than after they have been achieved.


More on changing generational characteristics can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


social change 24 million employers ultimo 1968 2016 communities safe google logan post rationalism average aussie Charlotte future of work Love NT census Performance Sentiment Index cars royal baby parents gen z NEETs jobs SRE society organisations resilience population map Kirsten Brewer Hunter Valley Scouts click TEDx mccrindle in the media social trends Adelaide Merry Christmas Australian community trends Australian communities narcissism spirituality average sydneysider January 26th poker master pharmacies public speaking changing face of sydney commuting marketing learner Christmas season energy litter future-proof social researchers proactive Australian Dream media release responsive australian real estate professional speaker growth australia forecasting urban Wodonga commuters Word Up Sydney keynote speaker budget sun brand experience local community wealth and income distribution social issues tea census 2016 anzac salary urban development screenagers Mount Annan-Currant Hill James Ward society trends census data gig economy presentations households donate tattoos Black Friday school debt medicine investor townhouses global retail in the media states hobart Christmas Stats careers baby names Willowdale authenticity sydney event surname sector wide study Social Trend social lives acf15 learn bondi property price resource motivate cancel plans meetings financial planning tips suburbs professional DIY forum hunger keynote speaker Channel 7 urban taskforce Jura Coffee earnings Bathburst Sydney Hills Business Chamber meals maiden social impact Australian schools marriage financial independence Caregiver employmee gold coast brands TED dare to dream retirement shifts networking sydney speaker church NBRS Tuesday Trends debate seasons greetings public transport data online NSW PSI wages easter tableau eliane miles faux-ciliser school students environment marrickville dreams long weekend innovation global generations families sydney hills going out demographic trends EFF trades professional presenters organisational culture Queensland baby name trends workforce Andrew Duffin analysis Tuesday Trend research participants the australian dream 2016 census results supply and demand Christmas day digital economy Australian Census car trend leadership Black Friday Sales Hills Shire Council Australia street education sector rental stress McCrindle Speakers national wealth capital cities balance chairty showreel urban living TDE norwest Financial Planning Association of Australia engage youth unemployment data visualisation speakers pack 2014 product 2015 goal trends analyst generations grandparents storytelling social analysis millenials challenge cartodb case study speajer repayments interactive Engineering Manager Aussies teach cost casual pyrmont events Melbourne future proof owning a home ACF the hills shire relational plans perth crime cost of living coffee lovers easy rider McCrindle Speaker cold Kiwi celebration VET sector culture vegetarian visual house visualisation area CBD overcast volunteer Mark McCrindle ashley fell education research SMART shopping Christmas presents hills shire do people still change their surname after marriage? Cobbitty-Leppington Australia Day Retail house prices national private wealth Generation Y financial student daily telegraph newspaper princess charlotte city tertiary education woolworths trends of 2016 Tasmania infographics Northern Territory unemployment daily commute house price rise australian community trends report WA TED talk faith future crows nest teleworking census fail program curiosity graphs state Research Director generational trends sports 24,000,000 optus my business awards ACF 2016 group session megatrends hello fresh February 16 report TAS royal Financial Planning Association weekly earnings potts point leadership workshop Sydney Lifestyle Study the hills publication moreton bay demography summer community Mark McCrindle in the media neutral bay victoria McCrindle Keynote Speakers speakers demographic transformations high density apartments thrive coffee dreaming poor couple IT Specialists property development Lower Hunter Region sydney property market finance Aussie ABS ACF2017 hopes work-life royal family wealth and income aussie culture focus groups investing happy holidays media employmer home ownership religion omnibus friends sydney market charity capital city news South Australia Assistant Store Manager living Australian Bureau of Statistics mythbusters twentyseventeen aged care New Zealand giving shopper's pick government REIV National Conference panel low density optus faux-cilising award winner internship in depth interviews education future report HSC christmas trees young people impact cultural diversity research pack baby names report mythbusting training social commentary urban living index builders demographer HR offenders clothing equip work from home investment children friendship non profit socialites rent teachers Research Executive Skilling sydney metro thought leadership social analyst emerging technologies leader wealth inequality Northern beaches Event Channel Seven 2020 research data intern home choice workers manly The Daily Edition trend tuesday New South Wales entrepreneurs of today conferences career business performance pharmacy Sydney’s south west entrepreneur System's Architect mover and shaker average Australian Netflix quote Births renting event social shifts christianity ageing breakfast research report Sydney population Business analysis menai shbc employment public holiday university degree moderators guide aged care puzzle ethnography national crime rates hills Valentine’s Day year 7 media commentary gender mining boom mortgage not for profit research statistics small business Deaths Black Friday in Australia socialising Hornsby Shire Council work rise of local entrepreneurial group mobile teacher wedding happiness jobs of the future surnames community event The ABC of XYZ data analyst cash keynote know the times sydneycity vegemite growing population award alpha Australians Christmas research life travel educated the great screenage social research ferry apartment australian social research politics financial dreams typical australian Wagga Wagga world youth day define engagement staying in students social commentator ashley mckenzie australians staying home more blaxland housing trends economy Generation X Western Australia baby facts mccrinlde snapshot volunteering data sunburnt country suburban living 1975 media activity earn youth australian slideshare nfp Australia Day 2017 income micro apartments maiden names 2016 census house price Real Estate annual income home owner work mates millennials TEDx Speaker sentiments wealth holidays goals suburb schools students future of education holiday greatness What is food insecurity? Crime Rates qualitative research food learning styles etiquette future of shopping royal influence Wellington university speaker wealth distribution presentation purpose christian generation alpha 40 million housing market toys waverton social researcher weather high school sustainable focus group personal growth population growth trends of 2017 land of the middle class wolloomooloo rich Work place baby names australia report middle class mentor relevant technology contiki domestic emerging generations office opening mccrindle ease of travel workplace experience conference sydneysider child care VIC office space learning year 12 Duchess of Cambridge business index tuesday 23 million Do It Yourself workplace culture father's day recap the changing face of christmas 2017 Australian Population Geoff Brailey conference speaker donation research services shopping centre residents travelling language social food insecurity Northern Beaches cancelling event 2013 baby name forecast school satisfaction paying to work research on coffee younger generations charities huffington post lifestyle wellbeing community engagement prince george care support gen alpha Vocational education leadersip winter blues new office selfie australian communities trends report live the dream sydneysiders FPA micro staff education future australian communities forum sector wide educhat mateship social media communicate cancelling plans New Zeland family survey future proofing Lower Hunter workshop internet environmental scanning population milestone volunteers digital kate middleton not for profit commute unaffordable bureau ageing population financial future communications financial fears sunny days economic Maxim Accounting new york times infographic cultural diveristy optimistic baby boom Education Future Forum Australian Communities Trends Christmas data ipswich mother's day brand change Royals story NFP event Australian Trends housing growth DESTEL global financial crisis Australian demographics social life 10 years marriages 1980 baby boomers #censusfail bus insight VET 1994 hornsby consumer video Australian Families trends futurist Territory McCridle baby name predictions Gen X affordable US ACT women rain insights monarchy REIV Conference innovative renter of the future brisbane Elderslie-Harrington park property market housing affordability nativity scene lalor park collaboration deloitte public speaker entertainment SMSF local communities parenting Christmas lunch fresh google for education identity stay home conference presentation customer 2012 results train emerging trends local demographics Christmas in Australia dessert personalities English rule keeper belief property Northern Beaches Christian School ideas JOMO Res Vis Population Clock Christmas day weather outsourcing generation Queensland: QLD the lucky country spend village wage Christchurch Jura Australia online shopping global GPO Financial Planning Week apartments tv rising house prices population geomapping sector CPI healthy future increasing densification men study professional development "know the times" the average aussie Real Estate Institute of Victoria grave decision eliane ACF17 education cloudy days cooking world generation Z research visualisation christmas 2017 survey design growth of sydney housing teaching social enquiry mccrindle tea screenage cica ACT Report professional services gig seasons mccrindle research market research communication Myth divorce faux-cilise divorce rate food bank FOMO researcher business water Sydney winter culturally diverse affordability who is generation z fears follow infographic wall volunteering earning World Water Day Canberra Macquarie University names not-for-profit money office Gen Y millionth internships household Gen Z Expert stats SA darwin skills criminal NBRS Architecture collaborative high density living real census results schools transport young australians consumerism high density Australian Home list buildings dream demographic priorities