Economics As we’ve seen, doctors, midwives and others disapprove of older mothers. They see them as a problem to be solved or a trend to be halted. Maybe physically it is better to have children at a younger age, but new research provides evidence that children born to mothers in their late 30s perform better than those whose mothers were in their teens and 20s.
The study, undertaken by Andrew Leigh and Xiaodong Gong from the Research School of Economics, estimated the relationship between maternal age and child outcomes and used indices aimed at measuring overall outcomes, learning outcomes and social outcomes. In all cases, they found evidence that children of older mothers perform better on all levels. Older = Wiser It seems to make sense, older mothers tend to be more educated mothers. Many older parents emphasise that when they were in their 20s, much time was spent being focused on one’s career. As people grow older they are able to invest more time in their children’s development. In January, Elizabeth Gregory, author of Ready: Why Women Are Embracing the New Later Motherhood contributed an Op-Ed article on the subject, in which she cheered for tighter belts, later bumps. She notes “Women have discovered that holding off on kids provides a shadow benefits system in a nation whose policies aren’t very family friendly. Waiting to have
children until we’ve finished our educations and established ourselves at work translates into higher wages in the long-term (one study found a 3% wage boost per year of delay, and others have found even greater returns). Gaining job experience and your employer’s trust pays off in more of the flexibility that helps families thrive.” In addition, according to Gregory, “kids benefit from increased maternal education and clout.”. Susan Heitler, a family and marriage therapist, also sees pluses for couples who wait: “Parents in their 40s are often more focused on their children than younger parents,” she points out. “They’ve had time to travel and to have a broad range of experiences before having children. They have less financial pressure, and more of a ‘been there, done that’ attitude towards hard partying and 60-hour working weeks.”