The North-South baby divide

Women in South delay motherhood up to ten years longer than those in the North

Women in the South are having children up to ten years later than women in the North, it emerged today.

Government figures released today show that while new mothers in southern England are likely to be in their thirties, those up north are still most often in their twenties.

The Office for National Statistics, which published the breakdown, pointed to differences in education and earnings as a possible reason for the gap, with the south of England seen as wealthier.

The report said that in the mid-1980s the peak age of motherhood was in the late twenties in nearly every area of the country.

Since then, the increasing numbers of women delaying motherhood for education and careers has pushed the age above 30 in many areas.

Those regions where most mothers are still in their twenties include large parts of the north-east, Merseyside, Wales, Yorkshire and the East Midlands, as well as those with high ethnic minority populations such as east London and Blackburn in Lancashire.

In Islington, north London, meanwhile, which has a high proportion of educated and well-paid women, the peak years of childbirth have risen higher than anywhere else in the country, so that a new mother is likely to be over 35.

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