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27th Oct 2016

Ireland’s Birth Rate Is Declining (But Twins Are On The Rise)

Katie Mythen-Lynch

If you’ve been feeling broody lately, a new report may give you the extra encouragement you need to take the pregnancy plunge. In fact, you might be doing a civic duty. 

Why? Well, the number of babies born in Ireland is falling. The latest report from the Central Statistics Office shows that births have decreased. A total of 65,909 births were registered in Ireland in 2015, a drop of 1,553 births on 2014.

Meanwhile, the age of first time mums continues to rise; in 2014 the average age of mothers was 32.4 years. Commenting on the report Carol Anne Hennessy statistician said:

“Mothers under 30 accounted for almost a third (30.2%) of births in 2014 compared with ten years previously (2004) when mothers under 30 accounted for 45.6% of births.”

And we’re no longer as keen to get a ring on that finger before starting our families, with over a third (36.2%) of all births outside marriage or civil partnership. The comparable figure, 30 years earlier, in 1984 was 8%.

Multiple births

The number of maternities in 2014 which resulted in multiple live births was 1,257 consisting of 1,231 sets of twins, 24 sets of triplets and two set of quadruplets.

Over the past 20 years, the twinning rate has increased significantly – from 11.7 in 1991 to a high of 18.7 in 2013 and down slightly to 18.6 in 2014.

Infant mortality

It appears we’re living longer too: there were 29,252 deaths in Ireland in 2014, a decrease of 252 on the 2013 figure. Cancer and heart disease remain the biggest killers.

Sadly there were 224 deaths of infants aged less than one year in 2014, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.3 deaths per 1,000 live births compared with 3.6 in 2013.

There were 158 neonatal deaths (deaths of infants at ages under four weeks) registered in 2014, a neonatal mortality rate of 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. Around a third (33.0%) of all infant deaths occurred within the first day of birth while 53.6% occurred within the first week.

Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities accounted for 42.9% of infant deaths in 2014.