Study Finds New Dads in US Are Older Than Ever

And the shift isn't without its risks
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2017 6:30 PM CDT
Study Finds New Dads in US Are Older Then Ever
A new study finds new fathers in the US are older than ever.   (Getty Images/kali9)

A study published Wednesday in Human Reproduction finds American dads are taking after George Clooney in at least one way—and it's not having superfluous nipples on their shirts. Rather, new fathers in the US are now older than ever. CNN reports the average age of a dad in 1972 was 27.4; the average age in 2015 was 30.9. Meanwhile, the percentage of babies born to dads over 40 went from 4.1% to 8.9%, and—as per CBS News—the percentage of births involving fathers over 50 went from 0.5% to 0.9%. The oldest father in the study, which looked at records from 169 million births in the US, was a whooping 88 years old. (The youngest was 11.)

Dr. Michael Eisenberg says "it's important for us to pay attention to" the results of the study and "what their implications could be for society." Live Science reports children of older fathers are at higher risk of autism, schizophrenia, pediatric cancers, and more due to mutations in sperm that increase with age. Older fathers are also likely to have fewer children, potentially depleting the future workforce. "I'm not trying to sound alarmist, but these are issues to think about," Eisenberg says. But it's not all bad news: Older dads are also more likely to live with their children, have a good job, and be involved in their children's lives. Meanwhile, the average age of new mothers is actually increasing slightly faster than that of new dads. (Another study found older dads have geekier sons.)

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