San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ticas Have Fewer Babies, Delay Maternity

COSTA Rican women are havingfewer babies each year, at much later agesthan they used to, the daily La Naciónreported.Statistics from the National Statisticsand Census Institute (INEC) show therewere 72,247 births in the country lastyear, 691 fewer than in 2003 and almost11,000 fewer than in 1986, according toLa Nación.Demographers have also noted greaterinterest among Costa Rican women indelaying motherhood. Demographer LuisRosero, from the Central AmericanPopulation Center (CCP), told the dailythe average age at which 50% of womenbecome mothers increased from 21 in1990 to 23 in 2004, according to LaNación.In European countries, this age is 29,according to a study by the BritishMedical Journal.According to Rosero, the country hasexperienced a substantial drop in the numberof women who become mothers,falling from 90% in 1990 to 75% lastyear; he added that increasing numbers ofwomen will likely become pregnant overage 35 in the future.INEC specialist María Elena Gonzálezsaid many factors could be behind thisnew tendency of delaying maternity. Forexample, more Costa Rican youth may bereceiving an education than in the past.Rosero told La Nación, “In greater proportions,young women say they do notwant to have children at all, and indefinitelypostpone their entrance to maternity.”

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