Statistics about parenthood and family trends in Sweden

This graph is from Statistics Sweden, and shows the average age at which Swedes become mothers (orange line) and fathers (blue line).

I get a lot of questions about family trends in Sweden, and I’ll try to answer some of them them in this post.

In Sweden the trend is that people are putting off starting a family for longer and longer. 40 years ago the average age to start a family in Sweden was 24 for women and 26 for men. Today the average is 29 for women and 32 for men, and more and more women are over 40 when they have their first child. Both Hannes and I will be 24 when we become parents, so we’re considered to be pretty young. Last week we were to a parenthood meeting for the couples who are going to become parents in February 2013 (there were about twenty couples), and needless to say, we were the youngest couple by far.

I’m the first of all my close friends to have a baby, and I don’t have many friends of friends that are parents, either. In general, Swedes today want to get different things down before they settle down and start a family. For many people that means graduating from college, getting their career going and finding a home where they can see themselves stay for many years (many of my friends of my age, however, say that they hope to start a family at 27. I guess, we’ll have to wait and see what happens in three years!).

This seems to be a trend in Europe as a whole. UK women wait the longest; on average they become mothers at 30.

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8 Responses to Statistics about parenthood and family trends in Sweden

  1. Veronica says:

    Can you tell us about how the society is regarding children? Paternal leave, kindergarten… Is it possible for parents to study at university?

  2. Laura says:

    That’s pretty interesting! In a somewhat related topic, what’s the trend with regards to “mommy blogging” in Sweden and Europe? I’m really like some of those blogs but it seems like there’s more and more out there everyday.

  3. janerowena says:

    In the UK the first-time mothers in London are far older than the ones who live elsewhere, so be careful with the statistics because it may also apply in sweden. women who live in cities tend to have better incomes from their jobs, so hang onto them for longer in order to get a career up and running first. However, I think there is a lot to be said for having a baby when young while you still have the energy for it, and then going on to have more of a career afterwards while you are still young – many English women are finding that they are leaving it too late and they no longer have viable eggs. Quite a few are freezing their eggs. I was 29 when I had my first, my sister was only 23 and she is now almost 28. She has a 4 yr-old and an 18 mnth-old and is studying law – a 6-yr degree – and also works part-time. She copes with it all very well.

  4. Niken says:

    i think it happens too in indonesia. now women waiting longer to get married and start a family. in the past time, girls at the age 16-18 who haven’t got married were considered spinsters. but, through the blogs that i read nowadays there are lots of young married couple/young parents in their early 20′s.

  5. Katrina says:

    I was in your shoes. Indeed, I was your age when I got pregnant. We were the first by a good almost 4 years now (now my friends are getting pregnant! heh). We saw no reason to wait when it was something we new we wanted and were (at least we thought) adequately prepared for. We’ve had some rough patches, but we don’t regret it!

  6. Nani Wijaya Nasution says:

    I think you are a very smart woman, happy to read about your blog.

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