Estonian women give birth to their first child at a younger age than most other mothers in the EU. The percentage of teenage mothers is also alarmingly high.
On average, women in the EU who became mothers for the first time in 2013 were 28.7 years old, Eurostat reports. Just over half of the first-time mothers were in their 20s, and 40.6 percent in their 30s. In addition, more than 127,000 (5.4 percent of all) births of first children in the EU were to women aged less than 20 (teenage mothers) and around 65,500 (2.8 percent) to women aged 40 and over.
Estonia had the fourth youngest first-time mothers in the EU in 2013, with an average age of 26.5. Only in Bulgaria (25.7), Romania (25.8) and Latvia (26.1) did women give birth even earlier in life. Conversely, women were oldest on average when giving birth to their first child in Italy (30.6), Spain (30.4), Luxembourg (30.0) and Greece (29.9).
Italy also had the highest share of first-time mothers aged 40 and over - 6.1 percent - and the smallest share of teenage mothers, only 1.8 percent. In Estonia, 8 percent of women were below the age of 20 when they became mothers. Young mothers are most common in Romania and Bulgaria, where approximately every sixth or seventh mother is still in her teens.
In Estonia, the majority of the women - 68.2 percent in 2013 - became mothers in their 20s and only 1 out of 100 new mothers was aged 40 and over.
In terms of the number of children in families, Estonia is close to the average. In 2013, nearly 80 percent of all live births were first and second children. It is noteworthy that in Finland, one out of 10 live births ranked fourth or above in birth order. High percentage of fourth or subsequent births were also recorded in the UK (9.5 percent), Romania (9.4) and Ireland (9.0). In Estonia the share was 5.9, only slightly above the EU average of 5.6 percent.
Editor: M. Oll