France’s national statistics agency INSEE has just published a report showing that the average age of a first-time mother in France in 2015 was 28.5 years old, thus approximately 4 ½ years later than in 1974, when the average age was 24 years-old.

The biggest difference was observed between 1974 and 1998 (showing an increase of 3.3 years) which INSEE explains in different ways: increased use of contraception methods, more women in higher education and in the labour market. The increase has slowed down since the end of the 90’s.

As a consequence, second and subsequent births are also postponed. In 2015, the average woman had her second child at 31.0 years of age, and her third child at 32.6 years old.

For the year 2012, less-educated women had their first child 4 years earlier (at age 25.6) than women with higher degrees (at age 29.6). The report also shows the average age when immigrant women have their first child is 27.6 years old, or 6 months earlier than the overall national French average of 28.1 years.

In spite of having one of the strongest demographic profiles in Europe, with the average European woman first giving birth at 28.8 years old, France still remains below the generational renewal line with a fertility rate of 2.1 infants per woman.

In the European Union, the average age for the first child was 28.8 years old in 2014. There are huge variations from one country to the other. The country where women become mothers the earliest is Bulgaria, with an average of 25.8 years old; compared to Greece, Luxembourg, Spain, and Italy where women give birth for the first time after their 30th birthday. And finally the average Italian woman only becomes a mother at age 30.7, thus 5 years later than Bulgarian women.