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Press Statement


02 June 2022

Press Statement Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2021

The number of births registered continues to fall, down almost a quarter in the ten years since 2011
  • The average age of first-time mothers continues to rise, up 0.2 years to 31.6 years from 2020
  • There were 16 babies born to girls aged under 16 in 2021 while 256 women aged 45 and over gave birth
  • More than four-fifths (83%) of the deaths registered in 2021 were persons aged 65 years or over
  • Cancers (malignant neoplasms), diseases of the circulatory system or diseases of the respiratory system, accounted for two in three (64%) deaths in 2021
  • COVID-19 accounted for 3,011 deaths or 9.1 per 100 registered deaths in 2021
  • Of the 17,217 marriages registered last year, 500 were same-sex marriages

Go to release: Vital Statistics Yearly Summary 2021

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (02 June 2022) released the Vital Statistics Fourth Quarter and Yearly Summary 2021 reports.

Commenting on the Yearly Summary report, Gerard Doolan, Statistician in the Vital Statistics Division, said: “There were 58,443 births registered in 2021, some 2,484 (or 4.4%) more than 2020 and a fall of 21.7% since 2011. This represented an annual birth rate of 11.7 per 1,000 of population compared to 16.3 per 1,000 population in 2011. 

The average age of first-time mothers in 2021 was 31.6 years, up 0.2 years from 2020. The average age of mothers for all births registered in 2021 was 33.3 years, compared to 33.1 in 2020 and 31.8 years, a decade earlier, in 2011.

A total of 699 teenagers had babies in 2021, and of these, 16 were aged under 16 years. There were 4,817 births to mothers aged 40 and over in 2021, and of these, 256 were aged 45 and over.

More than two-fifths of babies (41.4%) or 24,172, were born outside of marriage/civil partnerships, and of these, 26.3% were to co-habitating parents.

Births to mothers of Irish nationality accounted for more than three-quarters (77.7%) of births in 2021. A further 2.0% of births were to mothers of UK nationality, with 2.1% born to mothers from EU14 countries (excluding Ireland). 


There were 33,055 deaths registered in 2021, of which 17,212 were male and 15,843 were female. This equates to a death rate of 6.6 deaths per 1,000 population. The 2021 figure is 14.0% higher than in 2011 when 28,995 deaths were registered.

There were 27,332 deaths of persons aged 65 and over registered in 2021 and this accounts for more than four-fifths (82.7%) of all deaths registered in 2021.

The death of a live-born infant under the age of one is categorised as an infant death. There were 180 infant deaths registered in 2021 giving an infant mortality rate of 3.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. Ten years earlier in 2011, there were 258 infant deaths registered which equated to an infant mortality rate of 3.5 per 1,000 live births. Neonatal deaths are deaths of infants at ages under four weeks. There were 140 neonatal deaths registered in 2021, a neonatal mortality rate of 2.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Two in three deaths were from malignant neoplasms (9,436 or 28.5%), diseases of the circulatory system (8,753 or 26.4%) or diseases of the respiratory system (3,011 or 9.1%). Deaths due to accidents, suicide and other external causes accounted for a further 1,428 or 4.3% of all deaths in 2021.

COVID-19 was responsible for 3,011 deaths registered and of these 2,208 were aged 75 years and older.

The natural increase (births minus deaths) in 2021 was 25,388, which was 4.9% higher than the natural increase of 24,194 in 2020.


There were 17,217 marriages registered in 2021, of which 500 were same-sex marriages. The marriage rate in 2021 was 3.4 marriages per 1,000 of population, 1.5 more than the rate in 2020.”

Editor's Note:

The yearly summary of births, deaths and marriages is based on the date of registration of these vital events. Please see link regarding the registration of births, deaths and marriages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is an Information Note on the CSO’s website to clarify the availability of death notifications arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also explains 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. See ‘Information Note on the implications of COVID-19 on the processing of Death Certificates' for further details.

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

For further information contact:

Gerard Doolan (+353) 21 453 5130 or David Griffin (+353) 21 453 5273

or email

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