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Alberta women are waiting to become moms: report

(Supplied/Pexels) (Supplied/Pexels)
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First-time mothers in Alberta are steadily increasing in age, suggests new data from the University of Calgary.

Researchers with the School of Public Policy analyzed historical data from all Canadian provinces over 54 years and found first-time moms are getting older, especially here in Alberta.

In its report, in 1965 a woman’s average age was 23.5 years, as compared to 29.4 years in 2019, officials said.

Since 2012, across every province, the age of mothers giving birth for the first time has increased, the greatest jump being recorded in Alberta, by 1.1 years and the least in Quebec, by 0.4 years.

“The fact they continue unchanged through economic booms and busts and across all provinces suggests that these trends have more to do with changing societal norms than with financial considerations, such as the cost of living and the cost of childcare,” stated the report.

“Financial considerations are more likely the culprit for explaining differences across provinces than they are for explaining these 50-year long trends.”

For example, researchers point to the fact that the average age of mothers at first birth is highest in provinces like British Columbia and Ontario, where the cost of living has been consistently higher than in other provinces.

The report authors say it’s important to track the ages of first-time mothers as many public policies, including school construction, the financing of pensions, and immigration targets are considered based on this data.

“International data shows that amongst OECD countries, the average age of Canadian mothers at first birth in 2016 was near the OECD average (29.2 years), but noticeably lower than in countries like Spain (30.8) and Italy (31.0),” stated the report.

The positions of the two lines differ because the average mother over this period gave birth to more than one child. The vertical distance between the lines gets smaller when the average mother has fewer children and/or when the time between births grows shorter. (Supplied)

Unemployment rate of Alberta women dropping

Press secretary for Alberta's Minister of Arts, Culture and the Status of Women Tanya Fir said there is no hard data connecting the increase of women working with having children later in life.

"Alberta's government has been working to ensure women are able to fully participate in our province's economy in the careers they want," said Garrett Koehler in a statement on Wednesday.

Koehler said the UCP government has provided for a number of ways for women to gain the skills they need to join the workforce such as grant funding to open doors in underrepresented industries, assisted women in removing barriers to employment, supporting Indigenous women's entrepreneurship and funding to a number of non-profits that work to support women's economic participation and gender equality.

"Further, Statistics Canada data shows that from April 2019 to February 2024, the unemployment rate of Alberta women dropped from 5.8 per cent to 4.7 per cent.

"Our efforts are working, and we will continue to engage with community leaders to ensure we find and fund new ways to support women's economic participation in Alberta."

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