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Dublin: 12°C Monday 16 May 2022

Ireland has highest birth rate of all 27 EU nations

New figures from the ESRI also show there were 1,217 sets of twins born last year, and 33 sets of triplets.

Image: sleeping baby via Shutterstock

NEW FIGURES FROM the ESRI show that Ireland has the highest birth rate of of any EU state — at 15.6 per 1,000 of the population.

The average birth rate across the 27 nations is 10.4 per 1,000.

The think-tank’s ‘Perinatal Statistics Report’ for 2012 shows a decline in birth numbers last year — with 71,986 births recorded. That’s a drop of 3.2 per cent since 2011, and represents a fall of 5.3 per cent since 2009.

There was also a further drop in the perinatal mortality rates — estimated at 5.9 per cent per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2012. In 2003, the corresponding figure was 8.6 per 1,000.

There were 1,217 sets of twins born in the country last year, and 33 sets of triplets.


47 per cent of all newborn babies were exclusively breastfed in 2012, a figure unchanged since 2011.

The average age of women giving birth was just under 32 — a slight rise on the figure for the previous year. The average age in 2003 was 30.6 years.

Just two per cent of women giving birth were aged under 20, while 30 per cent were aged 35 years or older.

The average age of first-time mothers was exactly thirty, while the average age of mothers giving birth for a second time or more was 33.2 years.

In addition, some 34 per cent of all births were to single mothers, while almost a quarter were to mothers born outside Ireland.

There were 176 home births last year in Ireland, compared with 236 in 2003 — a drop of 25 per cent over the decade.

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Daragh Brophy

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