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


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