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CSO figures show births fall by almost a fifth since 2010

The number of births in Ireland has fallen by almost a fifth in eight years, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The CSO's Vital Statistics Annual Report for 2017 also found that the average age of mothers who gave birth in 2017 has risen to its highest since it was first recorded in 1955. The average age in 2017 was 32.8 years.

In the last 10 years, the number of births to teenage mothers has more than halved.

More than a third of all births in 2017 were outside of marriage or a civil partnership.

61,824 babies were born in Ireland in 2017, a fall of 17.8% since 2010 and 3.2% since 2016. It is the eighth year in a row that the country has seen a decline in births.

Up to 31,779 of the births in 2017 were males and 30,045 females.

There were 30,418 deaths in 2017, a decrease of 249 or 0.8% on the 2016 figure. Almost 1.3% (383) of all deaths were due to suicide, four-fifths or 80.9% of which were males.

The natural increase (births minus deaths) in 2017 was 31,406, a decrease of 5.3% on the 2016 figure. The natural increase in 2007 was 43,272, over 27.4% more than the 2017 figure.

The figures also show that 37.6% of all births were outside of marriage or a civil partnership in 2017. The comparable figure, 30 years earlier, in 1987 was 10.9%.

The number of sets of twins in 2017 was 1,134 while there were 17 sets of triplets in the same year.

Mothers under the age of 30 accounted for 27.4% of births in 2017 compared with 2007 when mothers under 30 accounted for 39.3% of births.

There were 1,038 births to mothers under 20 years of age in 2017, down from 2,505 in 2007, a decrease of 58.6%.