Thursday, October 18, 2007

Father figures, part 2: Nick Nolte vs. Scott Baio

The New York Daily News recently ran a story under the headline "'Grandpa dads' are the latest thing," about the supposed trend for late-life men having kids. They used Nick Nolte, 66, as one example. Nolte had a baby girl this month. Congrats to him.

But to talk about that as being part of a demographic trend, I'm here to tell you t'aint so. Actually, if you use Nolte as an example, there really is no trend for late-life dads having kids, in fact, despite high-profile cases such as Nolte and GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson (see below) the phenomenon of men over 55 having children in some groups is actually decreasing. If you have to have a celebrity older dad, a better choice for poster boy may be Scott Baio, who at 45 is expecting his first child. (and is, in fact, used to being a poster boy.)

How do I know this? The CDC recently released its latest report on nationwide births, which covers the year 2004. As in previous years, the trend for men having children later in life is continuing. The following figures are based on live births per 1,000 men. The number of births in the 35-39 age group increased from 60.2 to 61.7. Also increasing, but less dramatically, was for the 40-44 age group, which rose from 23.4 to 23.9. Baio's age group, 45-49, also saw a slight increase.

Looking at the larger trend, going back 20 years, in 1984 there were 46 in the 35-39 age group and only 17.8 in the 40-44 group. (all of this is in table 21 of the report)

The CDC lumps everyone over 55 in one age group. That has remained steady for more than ten years, at 0.3 births per 1,000. Sorry, Nick Nolte, there won't be a lot of your same-aged peers pushing strollers down the red carpet. For white males, the number actually dipped for the first time in more than a decade, down to 0.2


Anonymous said...

A male friend is having his first baby at 50. I think the larger concern is the lifestyle change he's in for. The "it's all about me" philosphy won't fly. Other male friends, over 40 who have had "round 2" children, are more relaxed and truly enjoying having a little one around.

Daddy G. said...

Hey, congrats to your friend, but I hear ya - he's in for a major lifestyle change. I know some men about that same age who say they are not planning on having any kids because they feel they are too set in their ways to adjust.

Attorneyweinberg said...

On our 20th anniversary, my wife and I found out she was pregnant. I am 46 she is 45. We have a 16 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. We both are scared about being older parents and need help

Attorneyweinberg said...

My wife and I found out that she is pregnant on our 20th anniversary! I am 46 she is 45. We have a 16 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. I have large misgivings of being an older dad. help

Daddy G. said...

Hi, attorneyweinberg, I thought your comment merited its own discussion, so I created a new post which can be viewed here: or by just going to the main page of my blog.


Anonymous said...

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