By Joe Leogue
We’re waiting longer to have children, having fewer of them, and the number of teenage pregnancies has fallen by more than half in the last 10 years.
That is according to the Central Statistics Office and its Vital Statistics annual report which relates to 2016,. It documents the underlying figures of births and deaths that took place in the State that year.
The number of births in Ireland dropped by over 15% since 2010, but the rate of births of twins has risen.
The average age of mothers giving birth in 2016 was 32.7 years. Mothers under 30 accounted for just over a quarter (27.7%) of births in 2016, compared with 39.5% ten years previously.
Circulatory disease and cancer remain the largest causes of deaths in Ireland, accounting for 30.1% and 29.9% of deaths, respectively. Meanwhile, four-fifths of suicides in 2016 were men.
Carol Anne Hennessy, a statistician at the CSO, said: “The number of births has fallen by 15.1% since 2010 and 2.6% since 2015.
“There were 63,841 live births in Ireland in 2016 with 32,709 males and 31,132 females. The 2016 total is 2.4% lower than 10 years previously (2006) when there were 65,425 live births.
“There were 1,101 births to mothers under 20 years in 2016, down from 2,335 in 2006, a decrease of 52.8%. Over one in three (36.6%) of all births were outside of marriage/civil partnership in 2016. The comparable figure, 30 years earlier, in 1986 was 9.6%.
“Over the past 25 years, the twinning rate has increased significantly, from a low of 11.7 in 1991 to a high of 19.0 in 2016. In 2016, the number of multiple live births was 1,215, consisting of 1,189 sets of twins, 24 sets of triplets and 2 sets of quadruplets,” she said.
Ms Hennessy also detailed the statistics on deaths recorded in 2016.
“There were 30,667 deaths in Ireland in 2016, an increase of 540 on the 2015 figure,” she said.
“Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for 9,237 or 30.1% of deaths and 9,171 or 29.9% of deaths were attributed to malignant neoplasms, while deaths from diseases of the respiratory system numbered 3,935 or 12.8% of all deaths.
“Over 1.4% (437) of all deaths were due to suicide in 2016, 80.1% (350) of which were male,” she said.
The CSO’s Vital Statistics annual report also examined infant deaths and neonatal deaths — defined as infants under four weeks old — that were recorded in 2016.
“There were 194 deaths of infants aged less than one year in 2016, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.0 deaths per 1,000 live births compared with 3.4 in 2015,” said Ms Hennessy.
“Over a third (37.6%) of all infant deaths occurred within the first day of birth while 59.8% occurred within the first week.
“Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities accounted for 39.7% of infant deaths while certain conditions originating in the perinatal period accounted for 44.8% of infant deaths in 2016.
“There were 147 neonatal deaths registered in 2016, a neonatal mortality rate of 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births,” she said.
The CSO said the natural increase — the number of births minus deaths — in 2016 was 33,174, a decrease of 6.3% on the 2015 figure.
The natural increase 10 years previously in 2006 was 36,937, over 11.3% more than the 2016 figure.