pregnant couple in kitchen with ultrasoundWhat’s the ideal age to start having children? IS there an ideal age? The inquiring minds at Gallup posed the question by telephone survey this past August to 5,100 people representing the full spectrum of American society. The polled public says women should start families at or before age 25. Do you agree? There’s a very real possibility you know a 25-year-old woman who would make an ideal mother. You probably know another one who still has a lot of growing up or settling down to do first.

The ideal age for men? The poll respondents give the guys another year before fatherhood begins, naming 26 the ideal age for a man to start a family.

Some other interesting results include:

  • Education affects opinion - Poll respondents with higher levels of education said women should be 26 or older.
  • Racial differences - The majority of polled individuals identifying themselves as black, white, or Hispanic said younger than 25 is the ideal age for a woman to have her first child, with 68 percent of the Hispanic respondents and 67 percent of the blacks in agreement. Only 56 percent of the whites agreed. White respondents were more likely to say older than 25 is the ideal age for a man to father his first child. Black and Hispanic respondents said younger than 25 is the ideal age for first-time fathers.
  • Age matters - 72 percent of the respondents age 65 and older thought 25 is the ideal age for women. Only 49 percent of those between 30 and 49 years old agreed.
  • He said / she said - The majority of male and female respondents agreed that women should start having babies before age 25. For older first-time mothers, 17 percent of the female respondents said 30 and older is the ideal age. Only 13 percent of male respondents agreed.

Biological science suggests late teens and early 20s is the time a young woman is most likely to conceive and bear a healthy baby. Modern Western society, however, prefers that young women delay motherhood until after that age.

Babies have a tendency to arrive when they arrive, with little regard for public opinion, societal preference, or their parents’ birthdays. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 40 percent of the babies born in the US are unplanned anyway, which seems to indicate that, no matter what public opinion polls reveal, babies know best what’s the ideal age for a man and a woman to become parents.

Source: “Americans See 25 as Ideal Age for Women to Have First Child.” Gallup Politics. Gallup. Nov. 8, 2013. Web. Nov. 20, 2013.