Baby Wait: Women in London Forced into Late Motherhood

New data from the ONS has found that women in London cannot afford to have children until much later than the rest of the country. Reviewing data on house prices, salaries and ages of motherhood, Expert Market has found that the discrepancy between earnings and cost of living has a strong correlation with later motherhood.

The Increase in Earnings Over Time

Salary increments are failing to keep up with the rise in housing prices, with 22-29 year olds being hit the hardest. The pay for this age group has risen the least since 2004, rising just 23.52%. This coupled with skyrocketing house prices means that less and less families are able to afford to have children. Most mothers in London were found to be in the 30-34 age bracket, allowing for longer time to accumulate the savings needed to buy in London.

increase in earnings

Increase in House Prices

The average house in London costs £488,000, a 122% increase since 2004. The average salary in London is £34,881.60, just 7.15% of the cost of a house. The data found a strong correlation between higher costs and older mothers, with 63.27% of mothers being aged 30+.

increase in house prices

The North East had the smallest disparity between earnings and cost of living, with the average salary equating to 20.55% of the average house price. This also led to having the youngest mothers of any of the regions, with 43.78% being over 30.

Increasing Age of Parents Over Time

The age of parents has been on the rise since 1975, with parents now on average 13% older, however mothers in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands and Wales all had the most mothers in the 25-29 age bracket.

increase in age

Gender Pay Gap by Age Bracket

The data also suggests that the gender pay gap may be affecting women’s choices to prolong motherhood, or potentially refrain from having children altogether. There was a stark increase in pay disparity at the ages when women would typically return to work, post-baby. The gender pay gap jumped from 8.56% for 30-39 year olds, to 20.9% for those aged 40-49.

gender pay gap

The Ages that Women Have Children

ages women have children


Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings: 2016House Price Index : Oct 2016Births by Mothers’ Usual Area of Residence in the UK | Release date: 2016 / Data: 2015 Births by parents’ characteristics in England and Wales: 2015