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Ireland retains highest birth rate of any EU country

An ESRI study shows a larger proportion of the Irish population having children than any other EU member state.

Image: kubais via Shutterstock

IRISH PEOPLE have babies more regularly than any other European Union member state, according to research published this morning.

Data from the ESRI shows that Ireland’s birth rate is significantly higher than any of the other 26 member states – even though the birth rate fell in 2011.

Mothers who gave birth in 2011 represent 16.2 of every 1,000 people in the country – significantly higher than the rate in the second-highest country, the UK, where the birth rate was 12.9 per thousand.

Ireland’s perinatal mortality rate is also falling, at 6.1 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths last year, down significantly from 2010′s rate of 6.8 per 1,000.

Last year’s rate is down by 29 per cent on the rate in 2002, when mortality was 8.4 per thousand births.

Ireland also has higher rates of multiple births than any other EU country: 18.1 of all maternities result in twins, which is up from 16.7 per cent in 2010.

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Of the 22 European countries which have published fertility data for 2011, Ireland had the highest fertility rate: the average Irish woman gives birth 2.03 times over the course of her lifetime.

The figures also showed that the average mother stays in hospital for 3.3 days, down from 4.1 days in 2002, while there were 168 home births last year.

Read: Birth rate down by 2.3 per cent in second quarter of 2012

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Gavan Reilly

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