The number of births in Ireland has declined by almost one-fifth since 2010.
New figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal that the average age of mothers continues to rise.
The CSO has released the Vital Statistics Annual Report for 2017. It includes details on births and deaths.
Among the findings included in the report are:
According to the CSO release, cancer and heart disease were the biggest causes of death in Ireland in 2017.
There were 30,418 deaths in Ireland in 2017, a decrease of 249 or 0.8% on the 2016 figure.
Of these, just over 9,000 - some 30.1% - were attributed to cancers. A further 29.2% of deaths were attributed to diseases of the circulatory system, while deaths from diseases of the respiratory system numbered 4,059 or 13.3% of all deaths.
It was also reported that 1,705 deaths were due to dementia and a further 586 were due to Alzheimer's.
There were also 1,299 deaths from external causes of injury or poisoning, though the report excludes deaths not registered within the year of occurrence. These may be excluded due to pending coroner's hearings or other investigations.
Accidents accounted for 67% of all external causes of injury and poisoning, while intentional self-harm accounted for a further 29.5%. Events of undetermined intent accounted for 1.8%, while deaths due to assaults accounted for 1.5%.
More than twice as many males died due to external causes as females.
There were 383 deaths due to intentional self-harm in 2017, 310 (or 80.9%) males and 73 (or 19.1%) females.
There were 188 deaths of infants aged less than one year in 2017, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.0 deaths per 1,000 live births, a rate unchanged from 2016. Neonatal deaths are deaths of infants at ages under 4 weeks. There were 140 neonatal deaths registered in 2017. Almost a third (32.4%) of all infant deaths occurred within the first day of birth, while 54.3% occurred within the first week.
The natural increase (births minus deaths) in 2017 was 31,406.