Most Pivotal Years in a Woman's Life (17? 33?)

hourglassEveryone has years they think of as turning points; a time in their lives they can point to and say "Everything was different after that." These aren't necessarily your happiest times, just times when really significant stuff happened. The 20s and 30s are packed with them; the 50s have quite a few too, but most of them, quite frankly, kind of suck.

Here are the years that are most likely to be pivotal throughout a woman's life:

Age 13

You'll probably have your first period around age 13.

Age 17

Chances are good you'll have lost your virginity by age 17.4, the average age of first sexual intercourse; 70 percent of women have had sex by the age of 18.

Most women who attend college are enrolled by age 22; almost 13 percent have already graduated. Almost all, 92 percent, have had sex by then as well; apparently everyone really, really enjoys college for more than just the academics.


Age 25

The average woman gives birth the first time at age 25.1; having a least a bachelor's degree pushes that back to somewhere between 30-34, though. It seems more and more people are putting the "baby carriage" before the "marriage" in the old rhyme, too: average age of first marriage is 25.9.

Age 33

Of course, sometimes things don't work out. The average age of a first divorce is 33 for women, although if you divorce younger than that you might be more likely to remarry, since the average age at a second marriage is 32.7.  And the average age of a second divorce is 39.

Of course you'll want a house, what with all these exes and kids running around. An average person buys a house at around age 33, and that house will be as old as you, 33 years. It will likely be around 1,500 square feet. Once you've outgrown that house, the average age of second-time home buyers is 45, and they buy houses that are at least 2,000 square feet and around 18 years old.

Age 44

The 40s seem pretty calm; your kids get older, and your career maybe starts to take off; the average age of a worker in the executive ranks is 44.

Age 51

And then come the 50s. Most women hit menopause at or around the end of their fifth decade; the average age of menopause is 51. Interestingly, women who start their periods young are not more likely than someone who started it late to hit menopause earlier.

Age 54

Both women and men are widowed at an average age of 56. Men tend to live less than another 20 years after that; their life expectancy is 74. Ours, though, is 80.

I'm pretty much a late bloomer for all of these except for buying a house and having my first kid; I do have a bachelor's and had my first kid at 34.

Where do you fit in with this timeline? Any milestones we missed?

Sources: US Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Kinsey Institute, National Association of Home Builders


Image via graymalkn/Erik Fitzpatrick/Flickr

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