Motherhood in Spain is increasingly delayed

Couples increasingly delay the decision to have children. The difficulty to find a first job and stable work, the difficulties to reconcile work and family life, and the increase of the prices without a raise of salary are some of the causes that provoke that the parents increasingly postponing more to bring a child to the world .

Couples get married later

One of the most significant data offered by the National Institute of Statistics, INE, and related to motherhood is the age at which Spaniards marry. The data of the INE point to a considerable delay compared to previous decades in nuptiality. If in 1981 couples were married at 25.2 years, in 2013 this average rises to 33.2. That is, an increase of eight years.


This fact is directly related to the labor problems that young people find today. The incorporation into the labor market is increasingly delayed and the salaries they find once in their first jobs are not enough to form a family, they are enough to pay rent and bills.

Emancipation of young people at 30 years

The current situation of the labor market is not precisely the most propitious to form a family. In fact, this situation causes that the decision to leave the parental home is also postponed. This is expressed by the Emancipation Observatory of the Council of Youth in Spain, which states in its study that in our country approximately 80% of children under 30 still live in their parents' house.


Not only the labor market affects the emancipation, also the real estate sector affects this decision since housing prices have increased in recent years without a corresponding increase in wages. This causes young Spaniards to take time out of their home, which directly delays other decisions such as marriage or the decision to bring a child into the world. If in our country emancipation reaches 30, motherhood will come later, with the problems that entails.

Less children and later

This panorama in Spanish society affects a trend that has taken place in our country since the mid-seventies: the decline in the birth rate. At the beginning of the 21st century a certain recovery was observed as a consequence of the immigrants who arrived in Spain. But as of 2009 this trend fell again, a behavior that has increased in recent years.


If we compare the number of live births within our borders in 2013 with those of 1981, the data show a decrease in the Spanish birth rate. If in the 1980s there were 14.1 births per 1000 inhabitants, in the 21st century this figure has dropped to 9.1 births. This data is directly related to the age at which Spanish women have their first child.

In 1981, the average age at which mothers gave birth for the first time was at 25.2 years, while in 2013 this figure stood at 30.4 years according to INE data. If the first child is at this age, it is not surprising that the second child is postponed even more and the third child can arrive when the mother approaches 40 years of age. In fact if you compare the data of the 80 with those of today, it is found that three decades ago couples had 2.03 children by 1.27 today.

Problems of delayed motherhood

The delay of motherhood in Spanish women is a risk since approaching 40 years makes the likelihood of becoming pregnant considerably reduced. The possibility of having a second child also becomes almost impossible since the proximity to 40 years, adds economic difficulties to support two children. This delay also promotes some health problems in the fetus such as the likelihood that it will suffer from chromosomal abnormalities such as Down's Syndrome

The fact that the possibility of having a second child becomes more complicated and that a third becomes almost impossible causes the generational change to become considerably more complicated. The reduction in the Spanish birth rate causes a worrying aging of society in our country. If this trend continues, it will soon register a greater number of deaths than births, an event that has not occurred since the Civil War.

Damián Montero

Video: The Truth About Single Moms


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