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Births 2015

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Live Births 2015

There were 65,536 live births in 2015 comprising of 33,480 males and 32,056 females.  The corresponding total for 2014 was 67,295.  The birth rate in 2015 was 14.0 per 1,000 population, 0.6 lower than the corresponding birth rate in 2014, which was 14.6 per 1,000 of the population.  See tables 2.1a, 2.3 and 2.21.

Average age of mothers

The average age of mothers at maternity in Ireland in 2015 was 32.5 years.  Thirty years earlier, in 1985, the average age was 29.2 years.  While in 1965, 50 years earlier, the average age at maternity was 30.7 years.  At 32.5 years, this is the highest average age of mothers at maternity, since the age of mother at birth was first recorded in 1955.   Ireland had the highest average age at maternity within the EU 28 countries in 2015, followed by Spain, where the average age of mothers at birth was 31.9 years.  Bulgaria had the lowest average age of mothers at birth at 27.4 years.  See tables 2.22, 2.27 and fig 2.1.

 

 

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Average Age of mothers
196530.7
197528.8
198529.2
199530
200531
201532.5

Age at maternity

The percentage of births to teenagers was 1.8% (1,199) of all births in 2015, no change from 2014.  This was the lowest percentage of births to mothers under 20 since 1960, when it was 1.6% of all births.   From 1961 onwards the percentage of births to mothers in this age group continued to increase until it reached a peak in 1999 with 6.2% (or 3,314) of all births to mothers under 20.  This percentage has continually decreased each year since.  Within the EU 28 The Netherlands had the lowest percentage of teenage births in 2015 with 0.9% of total births to this age group while Romania had the highest percentage with 9.4%.  Ireland ranked 10th with 1.8% of births to mothers under 20 years.  See tables 2.8 and 2.28.

At the other end of the scale, the number of births to mothers aged 40 and over are increasing.  In 2015 there were 6.4% (or 4,175) of births to mothers aged 40 and over.  This was the highest percentage of births to this age group since 1969 when it was 6.6% of all births.  In 1981, mothers under 30 years of age accounted for 59.1% of births.  However, the proportion of births to this age group declined fairly steadily and accounted for 29.3% of all births in 2015.  See table 2.26 and fig 2.2

 

 

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Age-Group 2015 (%)
under 201.8
20-248.7
25-2918.8
30-3436.1
35-3928.2
40 and over6.4

Births within and outside marriage/civil partnership 

In 2015, 41,594 (or 63.5%) births occurred within marriage/civil partnership and 23,942 (or 36.5%) births occurred outside marriage/civil partnership.  The percentage of births outside marriage/civil partnership is 0.3 percentage points higher than in 2014.  The number of births within civil partnership in 2015 was 15.  The highest percentage of births outside marriage/civil partnership occurred in Limerick City accounting for 55.3% while the area with the lowest percentage was in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown at 24.5%.  See table 2.21.

The lowest ever number of births outside marriage/civil partnership was recorded in 1959 (1.6%).  Since then there has been a steady increase in the percentage of births outside marriage/civil partnership, notably since 1980.

Multiple births    

The number of maternities in 2015 which resulted in live births was 64,307 including 1,196 sets of twins, 31 sets of triplets and 1 set of quadruplets.  This is equivalent to a “twinning rate” of 18.6 (i.e. the number of sets of live twins per 1,000 maternities which resulted in live births).  This is the same rate as the 2014.  Over the past 24 years, the twinning rate has increased significantly – from 11.7 in 1991, reaching an all-time high of 18.7 in 2013.  See table 2.20.

Births by NUTS III Regional authority areas

In 2015, 19,489 births (or 29.7%) took place in the Dublin regional authority area.  In contrast, the smallest number of births (4,013) was in the Midland region (Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath) with 6.1% of all births.  See table 2.21 and background notes.

Births by Maternity hospital

The highest number of births in 2015 was recorded in the National maternity hospital, Holles Street with 14.2% (9,282) of all births.  This was followed by the Rotunda Hospital (8,469) and The Coombe Womens & Infants University hospital (8,353) accounting for 12.9% and 12.7% of all births respectively.  Outside of Dublin, Cork University Maternity hospital had the highest number of births, 8,053 or 12.3% of all births in 2015.  See table 2.17.

Domiciliary births

There were 345 domiciliary births in 2015, 86 more than in 2014.  Such births have dropped from one in three births in the early 1950’s to just over 5 per thousand live births in 2015.   Domiciliary births include home births and other births that take place in a location other than a hospital.  See table 2.17.

Nationality of parents

In 2015, 77.9% of mothers’ were of Irish nationality, 2.4% of UK nationality and 1.8% were of EU-15 (excluding Ireland and the UK) nationality.   There were 11.7% of mothers of EU-28 (excluding EU-15) nationality and 6.2% of other nationality.  The nationality of the mother was not stated for 0.1% of births.  See tables 2.24a and 2.24b.

Birthweight

In 2015, babies with a birthweight of between 3,500 and 3,999 grams accounted for the highest percentage of births of known birthweight at 34.3%.  The majority of babies (61.3%) in this group and of known gestation, had a gestational age of 40 weeks and over.  See tables 2.13, 2.14 and 2.15.

Gestation

In 2015, babies with a gestational age of 40 weeks and over represented the majority (49.3%) of births of known gestation.   Babies with a gestational age of under 28 weeks represented the lowest percentage of births of known gestation at 0.3%.  See tables 2.12, 2.14 and 2.16.

Occupation of Mother

In 2015, just over one in five mothers’ (20.5%) of all mothers stated their occupation as homemaker.   The number varied widely according to the age group of the mother, with 53.8% of mothers under 20 years and 45.5% of mothers in the 20-24 year age group, respectively recording their occupation as homemaker.  In contrast, only 14.3% of mothers in the 30-39 year age group stated their occupation to be that of homemaker while 16.8% of mothers over 40 years were in this category.  See table 2.25.

 

 

Birth order

A total of 24,716 births (37.8%) were to first time mothers in 2015.  Second time mothers had 22,978 births (35.1%) and third time mothers had 11,699 births (17.9%).  Mothers that already had three or more live-born children accounted for the remaining 9.3% of births.  See table 2.8.

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Birth Order 2015 (%)
1st37.8
2nd35.1
3rd17.9
4th6.2
5th and over3.1

Total Period Fertility Rate

The total period fertility rate (TPFR) is derived from the age-specific fertility rates.  It gives the theoretical average number of children who would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime if she were to pass through her childbearing years conforming to the age-specific fertility rates of a given year.  A value of 2.1 is generally taken to be the level at which a generation would replace itself in the long run, ignoring migration.

The TPFR has fallen by almost 26% in the past 30 years, from 2.50 in 1985 to 1.86 in 2015.  In Ireland, it dropped below the replacement level in 1989 and again in 1991 and has remained there since.   If Ireland's TPFR had been 2.1 for 2015 then the natural increase in population would have been 39,978 (the actual natural increase was 35,409).   See table 2.1.

France had the highest fertility rate in the EU 28 in 2015 with 1.96; Ireland is next with a fertility rate of 1.86 followed closely by Sweden with a rate of 1.85.  Portugal had the lowest fertility rate at 1.31 (estimated).  See Fig 2.4.

CountryFertility rate
France1.96
Ireland 1.86
Sweden1.85
United Kingdom1.8
Denmark1.71
Belgium1.7
Latvia1.7
Lithuania1.7
Netherlands1.66
Finland1.65
Estonia1.58
Romania1.58
Czech Republic1.57
Slovenia 1.57
Bulgaria1.53
Germany 1.5
Austria1.49
Luxembourg1.47
Hungary1.45
Malta1.45
Croatia1.4
Slovakia1.4
Italy1.35
Greece1.33
Spain1.33
Cyprus1.32
Poland1.32
Portugal1.31
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Show Table: Table 2.1 Total period fertility rate (TPFR) and age specific fertility rates (ASFR), 1967-2015

Show Table: Table 2.1a Number of births in Ireland* and birth rates per 1,000 population in Ireland and neighbouring countries, 1941 to 2015

Show Table: Table 2.2 Age specific and total fertility rates by area of residence of mother in 2011

Show Table: Table 2.3 Births by area of residence, sex of infant and age at maternity in 2015

Show Table: Table 2.4 Births by area of residence showing the numbers in each quarter in 2015

Show Table: Table 2.5 Births in 2015, classified by sex and age of mother at maternity, and showing the number of births outside marriage/civil partnership separately

Show Table: Table 2.6 Total births in 2015, classified by area of residence and age of mother at maternity

Show Table: Table 2.7 Births outsdie marriage/civil partnership in 2015 classified by area of residence of mother at maternity

Show Table: Table 2.8 Total births in 2015, classified by age of mother at maternity and number of previous liveborn children

Show Table: Table 2.9 Births outside marriage/civil partnership in 2015, classified by age of mother at maternity and number of previous liveborn children

Show Table: Table 2.10 Births within marriage/civil partnership in 2015, classified by age of mother at maternity and year of marriage/civil partnership

Show Table: Table 2.11 First births within marriage/civil partnership in 2015, classified by age of mother at maternity and year of marriage/civil partnership

Show Table: Table 2.12 Births in 2015 classified by period of gestation and age of mother at maternity

Show Table: Table 2.13 Births in 2015, classified by age of mother at maternity and birthweight

Show Table: Table 2.14 Births in 2015, classified by period of gestation and birthweight

Show Table: Table 2.15 Births in 2015, classified by sex of infant and birthweight

Show Table: Table 2.16 Births in 2015 classified by sex of infant and period of gestation

Show Table: Table 2.17 Numbers of hospital and domiciliary births in 2015 showing place of occurrence and area of normal residence of mother

Show Table: Table 2.18 Births in 2015 by day of occurrence and mothers' usual residence

Show Table: Table 2.19 Births per 1,000 women in each age group, Ireland, England and Wales, 2015

Show Table: Table 2.20 Number of multiple births and the number of twins per 1,000 maternities, 1989-2015

Show Table: Table 2.21 Births and birth rate by area of residence of mother during 2015, showing births within and outside of marriage/civil partnership separately

Show Table: Table 2.22 Average age at maternity by area of residence of mother during 2015 showing births inside and outside marriage/civil partnership separately

Show Table: Table 2.23 Births inside and outside marriage/civil partnership and rates per 1,000 population, 1864-2015

Show Table: Table 2.24a Total births in 2015, classified by nationality of mother, marital status and age

Show Table: Table 2.24b Total births in 2015, classified by nationality of parents

Show Table: Table 2.25 Births in 2015 by occupation and age-group of mother at maternity

Show Table: Table 2.26 Percentage distribution of births according to age of mother at maternity in 2015 and comparisons with 2014, 1985 and 1965

Show Table: Table 2.27 Births in 2015, classified by average age of mother at maternity and rank within the European Union

Show Table: Table 2.28 Births in 2015, showing the percentage of births to mother under 20 years of age by country of residence within the European Union

Technical notes:

This report contains upward revisions to previously published figures for the number of births occurring in 2008.  These revisions were first published in the Report on Vital Statistics 2009.

Live Births:  

The terms used in relation to live births are defined as follows:

Parity:  Parity is the number of previous live born children to a woman.

Birth Order:  Birth order is the number  of live born children a woman has in the order in which they are born.

Parity and Birth order:  A first birth relates to parity 0 or birth order 1 i.e. birth order = parity + 1.

Crude birth rate (CBR):  The number of live births divided by the total population at that age (or age-group), multiplied by 1,000.

Age specific fertility rate (ASFR):  The number of live births at a certain age (or age-group) divided by the female population at that age (or age-group) multiplied by 1,000.

Total period fertility rate (TPFR):  The sum of the ASFRs, divided by 1,000 i.e. the expected number of children a woman will have in her lifetime based on the fertility of that year.

Formula for technical notes

Age specific reproduction rate (ASFR): The number of female live births at a certain age (or age-group) divided by the female population at that age (or age-group), multiplied by 1,000.

Gross reproduction rate (GRR): The sum of the ASRRs divided by 1,000 i.e. the expected number of daughters a woman will have in her lifetime based on the fertility of that year.

Net reproduction rate (NRR):  The sum of the products of the ASRR's and the expected number of female years to be lived at that age, divided by 1,000 i.e. the GRR adjusted for female mortality.

The difference between the gross and the net reproduction rates is an indicator of female mortality.

Average age at maternity:  The sum of the products of the ages at maternity of live births and their ages divided by the number of live births.

 Formula 2

Average age at maternity of first birth:  The sum of the products of the ages at maternity of first live births and their ages divided by the number of first live births.

Childbearing years are regarded as between 15 and 49.

Live birth to mothers less than 15 are included in the age 15 category and are divided by the age 15 population.  Similarly, live births to mothers aged greater than 49 are included in the age 49 category and are divided by the age 49 population.

Average of mean ages:  Live births where the age at maternity is not stated are excluded from the calculation.

 

 

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