Women giving birth in their early 40s outnumber women giving birth in their early 20s in 8 of London’s most affluent boroughs. In Kensington and Chelsea the ratio is 2:1 in favour of the older mums.
The figures in the latest births data from the Office for National Statistics underlines the long-running trend towards women having children when they are older. Nationally the number of mums in the 35-39 age group exceeded those aged 20-24 for the first time last year, according to the data just released.
But in London that trend is more developed and the numbers of women in their 40s giving birth is growing. Across England and Wales just under half of all births are to women in their 20s. In London it is 38% as more women wait before having children.
London mums have an older age profile. The data show that 18% of all the children born in the England and Wales in 2014 were born in London. But only 9% of those born to under 20s were in the capital, while it is home to a quarter of mothers over 35 and more than a third of those over 45.
Across England and Wales as a whole the picture is different and the number of mothers in their early 20s outnumbers those in their 40s by 4:1. This is the case in some London boroughs too, such as Newham and Barking and Dagenham. But in Richmond, and Kensington and Chelsea the 40-44s have outnumbered the 20-24s for some years and this trend is now emerging in more boroughs, including Camden, City of London, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kingston, Wandsworth and Westminster.
The affluent nature of these boroughs suggests that professional women trying to balance career with the timing of children may be a key driver of this trend.