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snapshot of ireland

Heart disease and cancer are the most common causes of death in Ireland

Here are the latest statistics on births, deaths and marriages.

shutterstock_126288149 Shutterstock / michaeljung Shutterstock / michaeljung / michaeljung

ALMOST 7,000 DEATHS were registered in Ireland in the third quarter of 2017, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office.

Of the 6,987 deaths registered, 3,608 were male and 3,379 were female. This represents a 2% decrease on the number of deaths registered in the same period in 2016 – 7,129. It equates to a death rate of 5.8 per 1,000 of the population.

Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for 2,090 deaths in the third quarter of last year, or an annual rate of 1.7 per 1,000 of the population. Of these deaths, 986 were due to heart disease and 389 were due to cerebrovascular disease (such as stroke).

During the same period, there were 2,185 deaths from malignant cancers. This is equivalent to an annual rate of 1.8 per 1,000 of the population.

Deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease numbered 328, while pneumonia accounted for 215 deaths and 276 deaths resulted from all other respiratory diseases.


There were 324 deaths due to accidents, suicides and other external causes. Accidents accounted for 72.2% (234) of these deaths, while suicides accounted for 24.4% (79). Of these 79 deaths, 81% were male (64).

There were 358 deaths due to dementia, of which 227 (63.4%) were female. There were 129 deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease, of which 83 (64.3%) were female.

Age groups 

The leading cause of death varied widely depending on the age group. For those aged from 15 to 44 years, external causes of death categorised as ‘accidents, suicide and other’ ranked first (118 deaths). Among individuals aged 45-74, cancers were the leading cause, while for those aged 75 and older it was diseases of the heart and arteries.

There were 5,640 deaths of people aged 65 and over registered in the third quarter of 2017. This represents an annual death rate of 34.7 per 1,000 of the population aged 65 and over.

There were 49 infant deaths registered in the same period, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. There were 41 neonatal deaths (aged under four weeks) registered – giving a neonatal mortality rate of 2.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.


There were 15,635 births registered in the third quarter of 2017 – 823 fewer births (a 5% decrease) than the same period in 2016. There were 8,102 male births and 7,533 female births.

The average age of first-time mothers was 30.9, up 0.1 years from the same period in the previous year. The average age of all mothers whose children’s births were registered in this quarter was 32.7 years, 0.1 higher than in 2016.

births and deaths

The average age of first-time mothers outside marriage or civil partnership was 28.5, while the average age of all mothers outside marriage or civil partnership was 30.1 years.

In the same quarter in 2016, the average age of mothers having their first baby outside marriage or civil partnership was also 28.5 years, while it was 30 years for all mothers for births registered outside marriage or civil partnership.

In the third quarter of 2017, 9,733 (62.3%) births were registered within marriage, none of these were within civil partnership.

There were 5,902 births registered outside marriage or civil partnership, accounting for 37.7% of all births in this period. The highest percentage of births outside marriage or civil partnership was in Waterford City (62.1%) and the lowest was in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (24%).

The number of births minus the number of deaths in this quarter resulted in a natural increase of the population of 8,648 people. The estimated population of Ireland in April 2017 was 4,792,490.

Marriages and civil partnerships

The number of marriages registered during the quarter in question was 7,945, of which 282 were same-sex marriages.

Same-sex marriage legislation came into effect on 16 November 2015, following a referendum the previous May.

Civil partnership legislation was introduced in Ireland on 1 January 2011. From 16 November 2015, same-sex couples no longer had the option to apply for a civil partnership.

However, couples who had given the required three months’ notice of a civil partnership prior to that date were still entitled to have a ceremony. There were no civil partnerships registered in the third quarter of 2017 (or the third quarter of 2016).

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