Ireland's birth rate continues to decline after recession-time high
The rate of births in Ireland is continuing to decline, figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE) show.
An estimated 61,902 babies were born in Ireland in 2017. That's 1,995 fewer births than the previous year, when 63,897 babies were born.
That translates into a birth rate of 12.9 per 1,000 people.
This contrasts with a baby boom experienced during the recession. There were 75,554 registered births in 2009, a birth rate of 16.7 per 1,000.
Birth rates have been falling in Ireland since for over 30 years - there were 21.8 births per 1,000 in 1980, dropping to 15.1 ten years later in 1990.
The rate of births increased at just two of the country's 19 hospitals this year - Portlaoise Hospital and Mullingar Hospital.
The National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street in Dublin experienced a decline of 5.3 per cent while the rate declined by 8.1 per cent at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
"Multiple failures" in care that contributed to the deaths of three babies were found to have occurred at Portiuncula in a report on maternity services at the hospital published in May of this year.
The HSE earlier this year welcomed the news that the birth rate for teenagers had dropped by almost two thirds (66 per cent) between 2001 and 2017.
The average age of new mothers in Ireland in 2017 was 31 years old, up 0.1 per cent from 2016, while the average age of first time mothers outside marriage/civil partnership was 28.7.