We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. Click OK to use our website.

Irish births down by one fifth in a decade

31 May 2019 / home affairs Print

Irish births down by one fifth in a decade

The number of births in Ireland continues to fall, down 14,708 (19.4%) since 2008, to 61,016, according to CSO figures released this morning.

This was a drop of 1,037 on the 2017 figure for live births.

The birth rate now stands at 12.6% per head of population, down from 19.9% in 2008.

And over one in three babies, or 37.8%, were born outside of marriage, the statistics show that of these, 59.1% were to cohabitating parents.



A total of 980 teenagers had babies in 2018 and of these 22 were aged under 16 years.  There were 4,670 births to mothers aged 40 and over in 2018 and of these, 327 were aged 45 and over.

Meanwhile, the average age of first-time mothers continues to rise, up 0.1 years to 31.1. The average age of mothers for all births registered in 2018 was 32.9 years, compared to 32.8 in 2017 and 31.2 years in 2008.   

Births to mothers of Irish nationality accounted for over three-quarters (77.2%) of births in 2018.  A further 2.1% of births were to mothers of UK nationality, with 2.0% born to mothers from EU15 countries (excluding Ireland and the UK).


There were 31,116 deaths registered in 2018, of which 15,967 were male and 15,149 were female.  This equates to a death rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 population. 

The 2018 figure is 10.4% higher than in 2008 when 28,192 deaths were registered.

Over four-fifths of deaths registered in 2018 were of over-65s, at 25,633.

Cancer-related diseases of the circulatory or respiratory systems accounted for almost three in four deaths.

There were 187 infant deaths (babies under one) registered in 2018 giving an infant mortality rate of 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. Ten years earlier in 2008, there were 290 infant deaths registered which equated to an infant mortality rate of 3.8 per 1,000 live births.

Neonatal deaths are deaths of infants at ages under four weeks.  There were 139 neonatal deaths registered in 2018, a neonatal mortality rate of 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Deaths due to accidents, suicide and other external causes accounted for a further 1,341 or 4.3% of all deaths in 2018.

The natural increase (births minus deaths) in 2018 was 29,900, which was 5.3% lower than the natural increase of 31,569 in 2017.


There were 21,053 marriages registered in 2018, of which 664 were same-sex marriages.

The marriage rate in 2018 was 4.3 marriages per 1,000 of population, 0.3 less than the rate in 2017.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland