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A new study finds that the average age of fathers in the U.S. is rising as men take a few extra years to practice their dad jokes before having kids. The typical dad now is nearly 31 years old at his child’s birth.

That’s more than three years older than the average dad was in the 1970s. The average age of first-time moms has also been rising, thanks in large part to a dramatic drop in teen pregnancies. The dad research, published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction, looked at live birth data from 1972 to 2015 in the U.S. Here’s what dads look like today:


Megan Thielking/STAT Source: The age of fathers in the USA is rising:
an analysis of 168,867,480 births from 1972 to 2015
  • New dads are older than they’ve been in decades.  In 2015, the average age of a dad at the time of his baby’s birth in the U.S. was 30.9 years old, up from 27.4 years old in 1972. That might seem like a small shift, but it’s likely to make a dent on demographics over time, since waiting longer to have kids is associated with having fewer children.
  • The average age varied depending on dad’s demographics. Men who had college degrees were older when their babies were born than men with only a high school education.
  • Dads in the Northeast are oldest. And Japanese and Vietnamese-American fathers — who were 36 on average at the time of their baby’s birth — were older than any other racial or ethnic group. Black fathers were the youngest, at an average age of 30.4. 
  • The gap in age between moms and dads is narrowing. In 2015, dads were an average of 2.3 years older than the mothers of their kids, compared to 2.7 years in 1972. The researchers suspect that’s due, in part, to more women entering the workforce and holding off on having kids early in their careers.

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