Educated women are starting families later

Women are deciding to have children later in life because they are spending more time in education. This is the suggestion of new research from the University of Southampton, which showed females in both the UK and France are starting a family later primarily as a consequence of finishing training at an older average age.

Professor Maire Ni Bhrolchain of the Economic and Social Research Council Centre for Population Change at the learning institute noted recent decades have seen a marked increase in instances of later childbearing.

She stated: "Our study is the first to show that the major influencing factor is that people have been staying on longer in education and training."

According to data examined by the researchers, young people have been starting their full adult lives around two years later than in the recent past - and Professor Ni Bhrolchain explained this is having a knock-on effect with regard to when individuals are deciding to bring children into the world.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Rachel Andrew comments: "As a clinical psychologist working in child and family psychology, I enjoy reading research that links parents' individual aspirations with their parental role. This research helps widen our view of the different factors that impact on the choices that parents make. It reminds us too that even at the earliest planning stages, parents have ideals about family life that are important to keep in mind."