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Press Statement


30 October 2020

Press Statement Vital Statistics Vital Annual Report 2018

The number of births continues to fall, with a decrease of 19.2% from 2009, the peak year for births in the 21st century
  • Average age of mothers continues to rise; in 2018 the average age of mothers was 32.9 years
  • More than a third (37.9%) of all births were outside marriage/civil partnership in 2018
  • The number of births to teenage mothers has more than halved in 10 years, down to 956 in 2018 from 2,402 in 2008
  • Cancer and circulatory disease were the biggest causes of death in Ireland in 2018
  • Almost three-quarters (74.8%) of deaths by suicide in 2018 were males

Go to release: Vital Statistics Annual Report 2018

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (30 October 2020) released the Vital Statistics Annual Report 2018.

Commenting on the report, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician, said: ‘In 2018, the number of births has fallen by 18.8% since 2010 and 1.3% since 2017. There were 61,022 live births in Ireland in 2018 with 31,306 males and 29,716 females born. The 2018 total was 14,151 lower than 10 years previously when there were 75,173 live births.

The average age of mothers who gave birth in 2018 was 32.9 years. Mothers under the age of 30 accounted for 27.1% of births in 2018 compared with 2008 when mothers under 30 accounted for 39.3% of births.

More than a third (37.9%) of all births were outside of marriage/civil partnership in 2018. The comparable figure, 30 years earlier in 1988 was 11.9%.

There were 956 births to mothers under 20 years of age in 2018, down from 2,402 in 2008, a decrease of 60.2%.

The number of maternities in 2018 which resulted in multiple live births was 1,120 consisting of 1,090 sets of twins and 30 sets of triplets. Over the past 25 years, the twinning rate has increased significantly – from a low of 11.7 per 1,000 maternities in 1991 to a high of 19.0 per 1,000 maternities in 2016. The twinning rate was 18.2 in 2018.

There were 31,140 deaths in Ireland in 2018, an increase of 722 or 2.4% on the 2017 figure. There were 9,258 or 29.7% of deaths attributed to malignant neoplasm, 9,084 or 29.2% of deaths attributed to diseases of the circulatory system, while deaths from diseases of the respiratory system in 2018 numbered 4,051 or 13.0% of all deaths.

Deaths from suicide accounted for 1.4% (or 437) of all deaths in 2018, almost three-quarters or 74.8% of which were males.

There were 174 deaths of infants aged less than one year in 2018 giving an infant mortality rate of 2.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, down 0.1 from 2017. Neonatal deaths are deaths of infants at ages under four weeks of live born infants. There were 131 neonatal deaths registered in 2018, a neonatal mortality rate of 2.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. More than a third (37.9%) of all infant deaths occurred within the first day of birth, while 57.5% occurred within the first week. Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period accounted for 50.6% of infant deaths while congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities accounted for 39.1% of infant deaths in 2018.

The natural increase (births minus deaths) in 2018 was 29,882, a decrease of 4.9% on the 2017 figure. The natural increase in 2008 was 46,899, 36.3% more than the 2018 figure.’

For further information contact:

Carol Ann Hennessy (+353) 21 453 5307 or John G. O'Connor (+353) 21 453 5787

or email

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