Women's lives have changed dramatically over the last several decades, with greater access to birth control, higher rates of post-graduate education and more prominent roles in the workforce.

These changes have created major shifts in the way women divide their life span and when (or if) they have children. The average number of births per woman in the 1950s was 3.5 over their lifetime. This number has dropped to 1.78 in 2021.

Along with a reduction in the number of births is an increase in the average age at giving birth. In the early 1970s, first births occurred mostly before age 25 on average in all European countries and the United States. By 2016, the average age reached 28 to 30, with increasingly more women giving birth in their 40s.

With fewer children being born—and