Apr 12, 2024 - News

Utah moms are younger than national average, but near middle of the pack

Share of Utah babies born to mothers in select age&nbspgroups
Data: CDC Wonder; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Utah's mothers are relatively young — but not as far from national norms as you might guess.

By the numbers: The average age of Utah moms who had babies in 2023 was 28.93 years — tied with Ohio as the 18th-youngest, according to provisional CDC data.

  • The national average age was 29.58, ranging from 27.31 in Mississippi to 31.74 in Washington, D.C.

The intrigue: Utah's moms aren't the nation's youngest, even though the state is known for its young families.

Zoom in: Moms 19 and younger accounted for just 2.7% of 2023 births in Utah — the nation's third-lowest share and well below the national rate of 4%.

  • Moms younger than 25 made up 21.1% of Utah's births last year — the same as the national share.

Yes, but: Utah had the nation's biggest share of births to mothers aged 25 to 29 — the state's most common age range for childbirth, at more than 35%.

  • By contrast, the most common age range nationally was 30 to 35.

Between the lines: While Utah children are no more likely than babies elsewhere to be born to young mothers, they are less likely to be born to older mothers.

  • 51.4% of U.S babies were born to moms in their 30s and older, compared to only 43.6% in Utah.

The big picture: In the last few years, age 35 has gone from the start of "geriatric pregnancy" to potentially a maternal-age sweet spot, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum reports.

Reality check: Pregnancy risks do increase with age. But the effects are much more pronounced after age 40, compared to 35.

  • New ACOG guidelines emphasize that pregnancy risks should be considered among patients in five-year age groups — ages 35–39, 40–44, etc. — instead of in one big advanced maternal age group.

The trendline: While "geriatric" pregnancies are less common in Utah, the share of births here to moms younger than 25 is half what it was a quarter-century ago, according to an Axios analysis of CDC data.

The fine print: The data accounts for all births — not just a mother's age at first birth.

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