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


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