|Average age of mother at first birth. (NYT map; click on the image to enlarge it; click here for the interactive version)|
Women in rural areas, the Great Plains and the South tend to become mothers earlier, and so do women without a college degree. Younger and/or less-educated first-time moms tend to be poorer, which means they sometimes can't afford enriching activities like violin lessons or math tutoring for their children. On the other hand, younger and more rural moms are also more likely to live near their own parents, which is helpful for child care and overall support.
"The gulf aligns with other disparities in the way Americans live — including differing attitudes about the role of women," Bui and Miller report. "Law professors June Carbone and Naomi Cahn described in a 2010 book how red and blue families were living different lives. The biggest differentiating factor, they said, was the age that mothers had children. Young mothers are more likely to be conservative and religious, to value traditional gender roles and to reject abortion. Older mothers tend to be liberal, and to split bread-winning and care-giving responsibilities more equally with men, they found."