The New York Times conducted a study measuring data over four decades of births, showing that while the national average age of first-time moms has increased, factors such as location, education and income strongly influence the statistics and the outcome of a child’s future. Most counties in Northeast Florida have women giving birth at a younger age than the national average – showing that people of similar beliefs and status live close together.
Over the years, America has experienced fewer teenage births and a rise in the use of long-acting birth control, allowing for the data between age gap and socioeconomic inequality to appear even clearer. As moving up the economic ladder has proven more difficult, circumstances mothers face have a bigger effect on their children.
The tipping point is educational attainment. On average, women with college degrees wait seven years later to have kids than women without. After graduating college, women are more likely to spend their time going on to higher education or starting their careers and building incomes. American families suffer from gender inequality when all women are not offered the same life options, such as attending college.
Often in Southern tradition, cultural norms embrace young parenthood. Moms are seen as the parent who takes care of the home and kids while a dad’s role is the breadwinner. Pregnancies are more likely to be unintended, and these parents often don’t have enough income or savings to provide their children with opportunities to climb the economic ladder.
According to the data, counties in Northeast Florida seem to have moms that fall into inequality in comparison with women nationally (except St. Johns County which is above the national average in age of first-time moms, and Baker County, where mothers tend to be younger):
|Location||Average Age of First-Time Moms||Married||College+|
|Baker County, FL||22.3||24.5||27.3|
|Clay County, FL||24.8||27.4||29.5|
|Duval County, FL||25.5||28.4||29.9|
|Nassau County, FL||24.8||27.3||29.8|
|St. Johns County, FL||27.4||29.5||30.3|
Where children get their start in life is the biggest indicator in where they will end up – making the cycle hard to break. The best option for children and families in our community is providing moms with opportunities and ending gender inequality – whether that is before a woman becomes pregnant, during or after.