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Family Planning

The Irish aren't making as many babies as they used to...

At present our birth rate isn’t high enough to replace our population. However, we’re also dying less and getting married more.

4314174840_63b17ab91c_o Bridget Coila Bridget Coila

THE IRISH BIRTH rate has fallen for a fifth successive year according to new figures.

The CSO’s annual Vital Statistics Report for 2014 shows a steady decrease in both births and deaths from 2013.

Interestingly, the Irish marriage rate is going the other way, with a 7% increase being seen between 2013 and 2014.

Currently, the Irish population stands at 4,609,600 people.

bith Births and Deaths in Ireland, 2004-2014 CSO CSO

There were 67,462 births registered last year (34,785 – just over 50% – male, 32,677 female, a decrease of 1,468 on 2013. This translates as one birth for every 68.5 people on the island.

While births are down year on year they’re still well up on ten years ago. 61,042 babies were born in 2005, 10.5% less than 2014.


For doom-mongers, our fertility rate (i.e. the projected amount of children mothers are expected to have) is 1.95. A level of 2.1 is generally seen as being adequate for a population to replace itself, not counting migration. So, the end may not exactly be nigh, but we’d still want to up our rate of productivity.

Average age for first time Mums is also on the rise. In 2014 first time mothers were aged 30.5 years, up 0.3 years from 2013. This is an intuitive statistic as the average age of people getting married continues to increase also. The number of Mums of Irish nationality held very steady – up to 77.7% from 76.6%

On a more sombre subject, infant mortality unfortunately increased slightly, with 249 recorded in 2014, or one for every 270.3 live births, an increase of 0.4 from the previous year.

deaths Principal causes of death, 2014 CSO CSO

There were 29,095 deaths in total registered last year (14,863 male, 14,232 female). Happily, that’s a fall of 3.1% from the 30,018 recorded in 2013. So we’re dying less, which is good.


The top causes of death were circulatory diseases (heart trouble) and malignant neoplasms (cancer), although the cause of death varies wildly by the age profile of the deceased.

Cancer is by far the biggest killer of those aged between 45 and 84 for example.

Sadly, 459 Irish people died by suicide last year, and almost 70% of those were male.

80% (23,269) of Irish deaths in 2014 were of people aged greater than 65.

deaths2 Cause of death by age profile, 2014 CSO CSO


In happier news there were 22,045 marriages registered in 2014, or one for every 208 people in the country, up 7% from the previous year.

392 civil partnerships were recorded last year, a 16% increase on 2013, although after last weekend you would imagine the numbers of such partnerships will be decreasing going forward.

The number of divorces meanwhile in 2014 are not available.

43128198_5c57f7b0fa_o Kumon Kumon

The full CSO report is available here.

Read: Babies are smarter if they spend longer in the mother’s womb

Read: Ireland is NOT one of the safest places on the planet to have a baby

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