Although the birth rate for unmarried women has been slowly declining, middle-aged American women aren't waiting to tie the knot before having kids. According to recent CDC data, birth rates for unmarried females between the ages of 35 and 39 rose a substantial 48% between 2002 and 2012, reports Fox News. Slightly older unmarried women between the ages of 40 and 44 also saw an increase in birth rates, with a 29% increase from 2007 to 2012.
The birth rate for unmarried women overall dropped to two-fifths of all births in 2013—down 7% from a high in 2008, reports HealthDay via US News and World Report. "It's still high compared with previous generations, but there has been a decline," says one of the study's authors, adding that the decline appears to have started around 2007 with the recession. Older mothers tend to be better educated and have more money at their disposal, and the health risks aren't deemed as scary as they've been in the past, notes Time. "We don’t want people to fear that they absolutely can’t and shouldn’t get pregnant after age 35—it’s not an absolute risk, it’s a relative risk," a Cleveland Clinic doctor says. (Read more discoveries stories.)