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Fewer young people in Ireland


A new statistical indicators report Children and young people in Ireland, 2008 published by the CSO today examines key trends in the demographic, educational, health and lifestyle profiles of children and young people in Ireland.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The number of persons aged 19 years or younger decreased from 1.36 million in 1986 to less than 1.2 million in 2008 (see Table 1.2). Persons aged 19 years or younger accounted for 38.3% of the population in 1986 but for only 27% of the population in 2008 (see Table 1.1).
  • Ireland had the highest proportions of its population aged 0-4 years (7.4%) and 5-9 years (6.9%) in the EU in 2008, and the second highest proportion aged 10-14 years (6.4%). However Ireland had the eleventh highest proportion aged 15-19 years (6.5%) (see Table 1.5 and graph).
  • People with Irish ethnicity accounted for 85.1% of the population aged 0-4 years and 92.3% of the 15-19 years age group in 2006. In contrast people with black ethnicity accounted for 3.4% of persons aged 0-4 years but only 0.7% of persons aged 15-19 years (see Table 1.8).
  • The numbers of students at primary level increased by 7.5% between 1998/1999 and 2007/2008 but decreased by 7.4% at second level over the same period (see Table 2.1).
  • Ireland had a student to teacher ratio of 19.4 at primary education level in 2005/2006. This was the joint second highest pupil teacher ratio in the EU (see Table 2.3).
  • In 2008, the percentage of Leaving Certificate candidates in higher level Mathematics achieving an A grade was 14.3% compared with 13.1% of higher level candidates in Irish and 10.1% of candidates taking higher level English. Almost one-quarter of candidates taking higher level Chemistry (23.5%) were awarded an A grade (see Table 2.8).
  • Boys accounted for 95.6% of higher level candidates in Engineering, 93.4% of higher level candidates in Construction studies and 90.2% of higher level candidates in Technical drawing in 2008 (see Table 2.9).
  • The overall infant mortality rate in Ireland fell from 7.9 per 1,000 live births in 1987 to 3.1 in 2007. At EU 25 level, the corresponding decrease was from 10.7 in 1987 to 4.2 in 2007 (see Table 3.3).
  • Almost 45% of mothers breastfed their babies in 2006 compared with just over 35% in 1999 (see Graph 3.6).
  • In 2006, 84% of children aged between three and the compulsory school age attended formal childcare in the EU 25 compared with 93% in Ireland. On average children in Ireland in this age group attended formal childcare for 22 hours per week compared with 27 hours in the EU 25 (see Table 3.9).
  • The consistent poverty rate fell from 10.3% of persons aged 0-17 in 2006 to 7.4% in 2007 (see Table 3.10).
  • Males accounted for 64% of persons aged 0-19 with a disability in 2006. Nearly three out of four persons aged 0-19 with a disability had intellectual and learning difficulties (see Table 3.12).
  • There has been a marked decrease in the percentage of children aged 5-12 travelling to school on foot between 1986 (45.2%) and 2006 (24.3%). There was a commensurate increase in the percentage travelling as a passenger in a car, from 24% in 1986 to 55% in 2006 (see Table 4.1).
  • There were 353 victims of rape in 2007. Of these, 37.1% were aged 19 or under (see Table 4.8).
  • In 2006, the overall activity rate in sport and physical exercise was 82% for 15-19 year old males. This was considerably higher than the rate for 15-19 year old females (68.3%) (see Table 4.10).


Editor's note


Children and Young People in Ireland 2008 is available on the CSO web site (


The report may be purchased 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.

Price: €5


For further information: contact Gerry Brady (01 498 4201) or Mark Manto (01 498 4204)


Central Statistics Office

18 June 2008