ACT News

Canberra fathers are getting older following a national trend

In the world of statistics it can be tough being a man. On average they age faster, have higher incidences of disease and die younger than woman.

But on the other hand they are life-time baby-making machines.

While you're thinking of your dad  this Father's Day it may surprise you to know that over the past decade in Canberra the number of dads in their 40s and 50s with newborns has almost doubled. 

Director of McCrindle Research and social researcher Mark McCrindle​ said being an older parent was a reality for a growing number of Australian dads. 

"Nationally there are 12,000 dads over 45 having new babies and just 600 mums in that age bracket so the differences are phenomenal," he said. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the number of fathers with new babies aged 40 and over increased by 41 per cent between 2003 and 2013  - a trend the ACT has followed acutely. 

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In the capital during the same period there was a 10 per cent increase in the number of fathers aged 40 - 44 years with new babies, a 47.5 per cent increase in dads aged between 45 - 50 years old and an 84.8 per cent increase in dads aged 50 and older. 

Mr McCrindle said the driving force behind it all was a boom in longevity. 

"We are seeing that all life stages are being pushed back," he said.

"People are more likely to stay in education longer, stay in their parents' home longer and start their earning years later."

He said the national trend was more evident in the ACT where it was common to commit to years of tertiary education. 

Chris Sheedy married his wife Jenny Bond aged 25 but was 41 when his second son Ben was born in Canberra. 

The 44-year-old father of two said he and his wife often joked they'd done it backwards.

"Early on in our marriage when our friends were having babies we lived overseas for years in London and New York and made life our adventure before bringing kids into it," he said.

"We were married more than a decade before having our first child Samuel."

Mr Sheedy, a professional writer and Australia's only Guiness World Records adjudicator, said it was easy to envy friends with kids in their late teens and think "wow they've got through it" but he adored keeping pace with his young boys.

"For us, having kids that bit later meant as a couple we felt more capable, we were financially better off and, having travelled, we could teach them there's an incredibly big world out there and they can go out and explore it."