At What Ages Do Women First Have Kids in Each State?

We recently told you about the average age men and women get married in each state, but how does parenthood fit into that picture? We combed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to find out how the numbers stack up today and how they’ve changed over time.

The graphic above shows the average age of a mother at the birth of her first child for each state, with stats from 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2013 (with the exception of Pennsylvania and Delaware, for which 2012 data was used—at the time of writing, neither state had finished processing their data for 2013). According to a National Center for Health Statistics spokesperson, with the exception of a few states, the most recent state-level data on the mean maternal age at first birth comes from 2006; in order to get more recent numbers, we turned to the epidemiologists and data specialists at various state health departments. (A few states had already published recent data for a mother's average age at first birth, while our trusty researcher Jocelyn Sears calculated approximate averages from raw data for Florida, Kansas, Rhode Island, and Vermont.)

As you might expect (or already know) the average age that women are first having children is on the rise—but that's not the only story the data is telling. For the year 2013, in all but a handful of states, the average age at first birth was actually lower than women's average age at first marriage. Only Ohio, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming saw lower first marriage numbers than first birth numbers (it was the same—27 years old—in Minnesota). On average, the age at first marriage is 27.4 years old in the U.S., while the age at first birth is 26 years old.

According to the CDC, 40.6 percent of all births (not just first-borns) in 2013 were to single and/or unwed mothers, a percentage that has greatly increased in the last few decades, but has actually decreased over the last few years. However, this doesn't hold true for women over 35; the number of single mothers in this demographic is actually on the rise. That, along with the broader social tendency to put off having kids, suggests that this trend will likely continue.

Graphic by Chloe Effron. 

© 2017 USPS
Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.



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