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Births, Deaths and Stillbirths in 2002




Births outside marriage to teenage mothers
Infant deaths


Births increase

There were 60,500 births in 2002, an increase of 2,600 on the 2001 figure, the highest they have been since 1986.

These figures are contained in the Central Statistics Office's Vital Statistics, Annual report for 2002.

A total of 24,200 births (40%) were to first time mothers in 2002, the highest in the history of data collection (1955) for the 4th successive year. Second time mothers had 18,800 births (31%), another all time high. On the other hand, only 29% of mothers already had two or more liveborn children, reflecting the trend towards smaller family sizes. See table 2.8.

Over 31% of births in 2002 (or 18,900) were outside marriage. A total of 3,000 teenagers had babies in 2002; 62 of these were aged under 16. Over a quarter of births outside marriage were to women aged 30 years and over. See table 2.5.

Fewer babies are born on Saturdays and Sundays than any other day of the week. See table 2.16.

The highest percentage of births outside marriage occurred in Limerick City at 54.6%, while the area with the lowest percentage was Galway County at 19.6%. See table 2.19.

The average age at maternity was 30.4 years in 2002 while the average age at first birth was 27.9 years. See table 2.20.

Causes of Death

The report also shows that 29,700 deaths occurred in 2002 a decrease of 500 on the 2001 figure. This corresponds to a rate of 7.6 persons per 1,000 population. This decrease is largely due to the drop in deaths during the first quarter of 2002. See table 1.6. Breaking down the total deaths reveals that:

  • There were 389 deaths in transport accidents or 9.9 per 100,000 population in 2002. Of the 389 deaths, three quarters were male and one quarter female. See table 3.18.
  • There were 478 suicides or 12.2 per 100,000 population. This was the biggest cause of death in the 15-24 age group at 26%. Males represented 81% of suicides, while females represented 19%.
  • There were 305 infant deaths and the infant mortality rate of 5.0 per 1,000 live births was 0.7 below that in 2001. This is above both the EU-15 average of 4.3 and the EU-25 average of 4.6. The neo natal death rate was 3.6 per 1,000 live births, down 0.4 on 2001. 41% of infant deaths occurred on their first day. See table 4.6
  • There were 6,100 deaths from ischaemic heart disease amounting to a fifth of all deaths. Of those, 3,600 were due to heart attacks.
  • Deaths from cancer totalled 7,500, which is a quarter of all deaths. Over 71% of all cancer deaths occurred in the 65 and over age group. See table 3.18.
  • Cancer is the largest cause of death in the 45-64 age group, accounting for 42% of deaths in that age group; while diseases of the circulatory system account for 30% of deaths of people aged 45 to 64.
  • There were 4,300 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 1,600, or 5% of all deaths, with males accounting for 70%.
  • There were 43 deaths due to homicide registered in 2002, 79% were male.

Vital Statistics Annual Report 2002 is priced at €12 and is 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 Joseph Keating (LoCall 1890 313 414 ext 5121).

Internet address:

31 January 2005

– ENDS –