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Press Statement


28 May 2021

Press Statement Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2020

The number of births registered continues to fall, down over a quarter in the 10 years since 2010
  • The average age of first-time mothers continues to rise, up 0.1 years to 31.4 years from 2019
  • There were 16 babies born to girls aged under 16 in 2020 while 354 women aged 45 and over gave birth
  • More than four-fifths of the deaths registered in 2020 were persons aged 65 years or over
  • Cancers (malignant neoplasms), diseases of the circulatory system or diseases of the respiratory system, accounted for more than three in five deaths in 2020
  • COVID-19 accounted for almost 5.3 deaths per 100 registered deaths in 2020
  • Of the 9,523 marriages registered last year, 314 were same-sex marriages

Go to release: Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2020

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (28 May 2021) released the Vital Statistics Fourth Quarter and Yearly Summary 2020 reports.

Commenting on the Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2020 report, Carol Anne Hennessy, Statistician, said: “There were 55,959 births registered in 2020, some 3,837 (or 6.4%) fewer than 2019. This is a fall of over a quarter (25.4%) or 19,017 fewer births since 2010. This represented an annual birth rate of 11.2 per 1,000 of population compared to 16.5 per 1,000 population in 2010. 

The average age of first-time mothers in 2020 was 31.4 years, up 0.1 years from 2019. The average age of women for all births registered in 2020 was 33.1 years, compared to 33.0 in 2019 and 31.5 years a decade earlier in 2010.   

A total of 830 teenagers had babies in 2020, and of these, 16 were aged under 16 years. There were 4,701 births to mothers aged 40 and over in 2020, and of these, 354 were aged 45 and over.

Almost two-fifths of babies (38.4%) or 21,478, were born outside of marriage/civil partnerships, and of these 59.2% were to cohabiting parents.

Births to mothers of Irish nationality accounted for more than three-quarters (76.9%) of births in 2020. A further 2.1% of births were to mothers of UK nationality, with 2.2% born to mothers from EU14 countries (excluding Ireland).”

Looking at statistics on mortality, Carol Anne Hennessy said: “There were 31,765 deaths registered in 2020, of which 16,450 were male and 15,315 were female. This equates to a death rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 population. The 2020 figure is 15.2% higher than in 2010 when 27,565 deaths were registered.

There were 26,440 deaths of persons aged 65 and over registered in 2020 and this accounts for more than four-fifths of all deaths registered in 2020.

The death of a live-born infant under the age of one is categorised as an infant death. There were 153 infant deaths registered in 2020 giving an infant mortality rate of 2.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Ten years earlier in 2010, there were 282 infant deaths registered which equated to an infant mortality rate of 3.8 per 1,000 live births. Neonatal deaths are deaths of infants at ages under four weeks. There were 111 neonatal deaths registered in 2020, a neonatal mortality rate of 2.0 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Over two in three deaths were from malignant neoplasms (9,356 or 29.5%), diseases of the circulatory system (8,744 or 27.5%) or diseases of the respiratory system (3,404 or 10.7%). Deaths due to accidents, suicide and other external causes accounted for a further 1,276 or 4.0% of all deaths in 2020.

COVID-19 was the underlying cause of death for 1,672 deaths registered and of these 1,341 were aged 75 years and older.”

Further commenting on Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2020 report, Carol Anne Hennessy said:

“The natural increase (births minus deaths) in 2020 was 24,194, which was 15.6% lower than the natural increase of 28,662 in 2019.

There were 9,523 marriages registered in 2020, of which 314 were same-sex marriages. The marriage rate in 2020 was 1.9 marriages per 1,000 of population, 2.2 less than the rate in 2019.”

Editor's Note:

The Yearly Summary of births, deaths and marriages is based on the date of registration of these vital events. Please see the HSE website regarding the registration of births, deaths and marriages during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The CSO has provided information to clarify the availability of death notifications arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the timing of the release of these statistics as death notifications in Ireland can be registered up to three months after the date of death. Please refer to the previously published ‘Information Note on the implications of COVID-19 on the processing of Death Certificates' for further details.

A new Information Note is available outlining how the CSO assigns COVID-19 as the underlying cause of death.

For further information contact:

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

or email

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