Nov. 12, 2013 at 9:34 AM ET
What’s the ideal age to become a parent for the first time? It turns out many people believe women should start sporting pregnant bellies fairly young, while men should wait a bit longer to become dads, according to a new survey.
The majority of Americans, 58 percent, believe the ideal age for women to start having children is 25 or younger, while the majority, 52 percent, said men should start having children at 26 or older, a recent Gallup poll found.
The average perceived ideal age for each gender to have children differs only slightly: 25 for women and 27 for men, Gallup found. Some 5,100 U.S. adults took part in the survey.
Gallup acknowledged “tension between biology and societal norms” in the results, noting young women may have the best odds of conceiving a healthy child but that rushing to become a parent “doesn't square with modern Western sensibilities about pursuing higher education and career goals, finding the perfect partner, or simply relishing the experience of young adulthood.”
Gallup also found "significant differences by education and race" in the poll. The proportion of respondents saying the ideal time for a woman to have her first child by age 25 was greater among blacks and Hispanics than among whites.
Meanwhile, Americans with higher levels of education were more likely than those with little or no college to believe women should wait until age 26 or older to have children.
What do you think is the ideal age to start a family? Let us know on the TODAY Moms Facebook page.