Number of births in Ireland falls by 25% in past decade

Deaths increased by 15% in the same 10-year period, the latest Central Statistics Office data shows.
Number of births in Ireland falls by 25% in past decade

By Michelle Devane, PA

The number of births registered in Ireland has fallen by more than a quarter in the past 10 years, figures show.

Some 55,959 births were registered last year, down more than 6% on the previous year, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data found.

It represents a fall of more than a quarter (25.4%), or 19,017 fewer births, since 2010.

The annual birth rate is now 11.2 per 1,000 of population compared with 16.5 per 1,000 of population in 2010.

CSO statistician Carol Anne Hennessy said the average age of first-time mothers continues to rise, up 0.1 years last year to 31.4 years.

The average age of women for all births registered in 2020 was 33.1 years, compared with 33 years in 2019 and 31.5 years a decade earlier.

Ms Hennessy said 830 teenagers had babies last year, 16 of whom were under 16 years of age.

There were 4,701 births to mothers aged 40 and over, and of these, 354 were aged 45 and over.

The figures also showed that almost 40% of babies, or 21,478, were born outside of marriage/civil partnerships, and of these, almost 60% were to cohabiting parents.

“Births to mothers of Irish nationality accounted for more than three-quarters (76.9%) of births in 2020,” Ms Hennessy said.

“A further 2.1% of births were to mothers of UK nationality, with 2.2% born to mothers from EU14 countries (excluding Ireland).”

Of the 9,523 marriages registered last year, 314 were same-sex marriages.

The CSO found there were 153 infant deaths last year, representing an infant mortality rate of 2.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

In 2010, there were 282 infant deaths, which equated to an infant mortality rate of 3.8 per 1,000 live births.

The death of a live-born infant under the age of one is categorised as an infant death.

The data showed there were 111 neonatal deaths last year, giving a neonatal mortality rate of 2.0 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Neonatal deaths are deaths of infants at ages under four weeks.

The latest data also showed that there were 31,765 deaths registered in the country last year, equating to a death rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 population.

The figure is 15% higher than in 2010, when 27,565 deaths were registered.

More than four-fifths of the deaths registered last year were people aged 65 years or over.

Cancers (malignant neoplasms), diseases of the circulatory system or diseases of the respiratory system accounted for more than three in five deaths in 2020.

Deaths due to accidents, suicide and other external causes accounted for a further 4% of all deaths last year.

Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death for 1,672 deaths. Of these, 1,341 were aged 75 years and older.

In total, the virus accounted for almost 5.3 deaths per 100 registered deaths last year.

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