Back to Top

 Skip navigation

  2002 2003
Births 60,500 61,500
Births outside marriage 18,800 19,300
Births outside marriage to teenage mothers 2,700 2,600
Deaths 29,300 28,800
Suicide 451 444
Infant deaths 306 311
Marriages 20,000 20,300
Population 3,917,300 3,978,900


Marriages and births increase again

There were 20,300 marriages registered in 2003. This is a rise of 300 from the 2002 figure and is the highest figure in 20 years.

There were 61,500 births registered in 2003, an increase of 1,000 on the 2002 figure, the highest they have been in 15 years. Ireland's births figures are reaching the long-term replacement level for the first time in a decade.

These figures are contained in the Central Statistics Office's Vital Statistics, Fourth Quarter and Yearly Summary report 2003.

A total of 24,400 births (40%) were to first time mothers in 2003, the highest in the history of data collection for the 5th successive year. Second time mothers had 19,500 births (32%), another all time high for the 3rd successive year. On the other hand, only 28% of mothers already had two or more liveborn children, reflecting the trend towards smaller family sizes. See page 29 of the report.

Over 31% of births in 2003 (or 19,300) were outside marriage. A total of 2,800 teenagers had babies in 2003; 58 of these were aged under 16. Over a quarter of births outside marriage were to women aged 30 years and over. See page 28 of report.


Causes of Death

The report also shows that 28,800 deaths were registered in 2003, a decrease of 500 on the 2002 figure. This corresponds to a rate of 7.2 persons per 1,000 population. This is the 4th year in a row where deaths have decreased.

See Table 8, page 34 of report.

Breaking down the total deaths reveals that:

  • There were 444 suicides or 11.2 per 100,000 population. This was the biggest cause of death in the 15-24 age group at 29%. Males represented 81% of suicides, while females represented 19%.
  • There were 293 deaths from road traffic accidents or 7.4 per 100,000 population in 2003. This represents over a quarter of deaths in the 15-24 age group making it the second largest cause of deaths in this age group. Of the 293 road traffic accident deaths, three quarters were male and one quarter female.
  • There were 311 infant deaths and the infant mortality rate of 5.1 per 1,000 live births was the same as that in 2002. This is above the EU-15 average of 4.5. The neonatal rate was 3.8 per 1,000 live births, down 0.3 on last year. 41% of infant deaths occurred on their first day. See Table 10, page 38.
  • There were 5,600 deaths from ischaemic heart disease amounting to a fifth of all deaths. Of those, 3,200 were due to heart attacks.
  • Deaths from cancer totalled 7,600, which is a quarter of all deaths. Over 71% of all cancer deaths occurred in the 65 and over age group.
  • Cancer is the largest cause of death in the 45-64 age group, accounting for 43% of deaths in that age group: while diseases of the circulatory system account for 31% of deaths of people aged 45 to 64.
  • There were 4,400 deaths (15% of all deaths) due to respiratory diseases. Half of these were due to pneumonia, 84% of which were aged 75 and over.
  • Deaths attributed to injuries and poisonings amounted to 1,350 or 5% of all deaths, with males accounting for 70%.
  • There were 39 deaths due to homicide registered in 2003, 79% were male.

Vital Statistics Fourth Quarter and Yearly Summary 2003 is priced at €10.00.


Hard copies available from the:

Central Statistics Office, Information Section, Skehard Road, Cork,

Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, or through any bookseller.

For more information contact Mary Heanue (LoCall 1890 313 414 ext 5423).



12 May 2004

- ENDS -