DefinitionMaternal age is the age at which a woman delivers a live-born infant.
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Why Is This Important?Infants born to teenage mothers are at elevated risk of poor birth outcomes, including higher rates of low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant death. The limited educational, social, and financial resources often available to teenage mothers add to their higher risk profile.
The increase in birth rates for women 35 years of age and over during the last 20 years has been linked, in part, to the use of fertility-enhancing therapies. Multiple deliveries, an outcome associated with infertility treatment, are also at elevated risk of poor birth outcomes, such as higher rates of low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant death.
How Are We Doing?Nearly 60% of births among New Jersey residents are to mothers 25-34 years old. Since 1987, there have been more births to women ages 35 and over than to those under age 20. The median age of all mothers remained at 31 years and the median age among first time mothers remained at 29 years in 2017.
For all births, the median age among Black and Hispanic mothers is 3 years younger than among White and Asian mothers. For first births, the median age among Black and Hispanic mothers is 5-6 years younger than among White and Asian mothers.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Teen birth rates are markedly lower in New Jersey than in the nation as a whole, while birth rates among older age groups (35+) are somewhat higher than national rates.
What Is Being Done?The [http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/ Division of Family Health Services] in the New Jersey Department of Health administers programs to enhance the health, safety, and well-being of families and communities in New Jersey.