American Dads Are Delaying Fatherhood Too


Plenty of data exists that shows how women are waiting until later ages to become moms, but now the stats are out on how long men are delaying fatherhood.

It turns out the guys are also putting it off; today’s American fathers are now three and half years older than they were four decades ago according to a study.

Credit: Julian Povey/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The research, published in the journal Human Reproduction, showed that the average age of a newborn’s father jumped from 27.4 years old to 30.9 years old between 1972 and 2015.

But just as with women, there are both good and challenging sides to postponing the time to become a father.

“There is data that a man’s fertility declines with age,” Stanford University School of Medicine study lead researcher Dr. Michael Eisenberg wrote in an email to CNN. “As such, it may make sense to not wait too long as it may be more difficult to conceive. In addition, there are some potential risks to children.”

Eisenberg and his researchers analyzed all the live births reported in the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System from 1972 to 2015. That information amounted to over 168,867,480 live births.

Related: Children Without Fathers Are Likelier to Be Stressed

Research showed that fathers of newborns who were 40 years of age and older doubled from 4.1 percent to 8.9 percent. The number of dads who were 50 years of age and older rose a half percent to one in every 100.

The data also showed that Asian American fathers, specifically those who descended from Japanese and Vietnamese roots, made up the oldest group of fathers. But Eisenberg says that the paternal age in America has risen across all race and ethnicities, education levels and in all parts of the country.

Having a higher education did factor into the study. Men who attended college tended to start families later in life, and their median age range to embark on fatherhood was over 33 years old.

Related: Child Development May Depend on Age of Father at Conception

A second study conducted by Magdalena Janecka, a post doctoral fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine, added that the upward tick in the age range of fathers could also be attributed to “increased use of contraception, increased entry of women into the labor force, and longer life expectancy.”

The research also showed that older women aren’t the only one’s that can put their children at risk because of waiting to have them. Children born to more mature dads have an increased risk of autism, psychiatric illness, neurologic disease such as neurofibromatosis, pediatric cancer and chromosomal abnormalities.

However, the experts all agreed that families with older fathers have both unique and important advantages. On average, the sons of older dads had better educational and career prospects.

Eisenberg adds that these older dads are not only more stable with better jobs and resources, but also more likely to have a monumental influence in their offsprings’ lives. This is because they live with their children and participate in the childrearing process.