The map in below presents the mean ages of mothers at first birth in Europe around 2003, and shows the extent of postponement in the timing of parenthood. To put these data in perspective -- in 1975 the highest mean age at first birth registered in Europe was 25.7 (in Switzerland), and in the majority of countries the indicator was between 22 and 24 years. Most researchers interpret this as part of the general trend towards postponement of choices that are irreversible or hardly reversible, usually associated with the ideational and other changes linked to the so-called “second demographic transition”. Again in line with the predictions of the second demographic transition theory about the importance of individual autonomy and self-expression, the differences between individuals within a population in the timing of parenthood are also increasing.
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