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That’s not grandpa, that’s dad. A new study reveals new dads are now at their oldest.
Buzz60

George Clooney became a father of twins at the age of 56. Jay Z did it at 47.

Becoming a father later in life isn’t reserved only for the rich and famous, a Stanford University study finds,. In fact, middle-aged dads like Clooney and Jay Z are becoming more and more common. 

Stanford’s School of Medicine analyzed nearly 170 million American births from 1972 to 2015 and found the average age of dads of newborns grew by three and a half years over the 44-year period, from 27.4 years to 30.9 years.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Human Reproduction, also found the percentage of newborns born to dads north of 40 more than doubled from 4.1% to 8.9%. Dads over 50 account for 0.9% of babies today, up from 0.5% four decades ago.

The university said mothers also are advancing in age, and faster than men. Senior author Michael Eisenberg, an assistant professor of urology at Stanford, said this could be a result of women putting off marriage and motherhood in order to focus on school and career opportunities. As a result, the age gap between fathers and mothers also narrowed from 2.7 years to 2.3 years.

It’s a trend also happening in other industrialized countries and likely to affect our future workforce, our demographics and our economy. Eisenberg said becoming parents later means smaller families.

“Fewer people being born means fewer productive workers a generation down the road,” he said. “This can obviously have profound tax and economic implications.”

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There are also the public health outcomes to ponder.

“Every potential dad acquires an average of two new mutations in his sperm each year,” said Eisenberg, who added older fathers are associated with higher rates of autism, schizophrenia, chromosomal abnormalities, rare genetic conditions and some pediatric cancers.

But there are positives to being an older dad. Typically they’re likely to have better jobs, live with their children and be more involved with parenting. A previous study revealed older dads produce “geekier” sons, ones with more social awkwardness, unabashed smarts and laser focus. 

The study found Asian-American dads are the oldest, with an average age upwards of 36 years old. Dads with a college degree also tended to be older with an average age of 33.3 years old. 

For those curious, the youngest dad in the study was 11, the oldest was 88. The world record for oldest dad, Eisenberg said, belongs to a man from India, who had children at age 94 and 96 with his wife, who was in her late 50s. 

Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman