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Table 2.1 Ireland: Average age of mother at birth of first child, 1955-2018
   average age in years
YearAll first birthsFirst births within marriageFirst births outside marriage
195527.527.923.0
196027.227.623.1
196526.226.622.9
197025.325.722.4
197524.825.321.8
198024.925.621.5
198526.027.221.8
199026.328.321.9
199527.029.722.7
200027.430.623.6
200528.731.425.1
200628.831.425.3
200728.831.325.6
200828.931.325.8
200929.131.426.2
201029.431.626.6
201129.832.027.0
201230.032.127.3
201330.332.427.7
201430.532.728.0
201530.632.828.1
201630.932.828.6
201731.0:28.7
201831.1:28.9
Source: CSO Vital Statistics
: data not available.
  • The average age at which women in Ireland gave birth to their first child fell over the period 1955-1975 from 27.5 years to 24.8 years. Since then, this average age rose to 31.1 years in 2018.
  • The average age of women giving birth within marriage fell from 27.9 years in 1955 to 25.3 years in 1975 and has risen since then to 32.8 years in 2016.
  • A similar pattern can be observed for the average age of women giving birth outside marriage. The average age fell from 23 years in 1955 to 21.5 years in 1980 but rose to 28.9 years by 2018.
  • The average age of women giving birth to their first child has consistently been higher for births within marriage than births outside marriage over the time period 1955 to 2016.
YearTotalWithin MarriageOutside Marriage
195527.527.923
196027.227.623.1
196526.226.622.9
197025.325.722.4
197524.825.321.8
198024.925.621.5
19852627.221.8
199026.328.321.9
19952729.722.7
200027.430.623.6
200528.731.425.1
200628.831.425.3
200728.831.325.6
200828.931.325.8
200929.131.426.2
201029.431.626.6
201129.83227
20123032.127.3
201330.332.427.7
201430.532.728
201530.632.828.1
201630.932.828.6
201731NULL28.7
201831.1NULL28.9
Table 2.2 EU: Proportion of live births outside marriage, age of women at birth of first child and total fertility rate, 2017
 % years    
CountryProportion of live births outside marriage, 2017 1 Average age at birth of first child, 2017 2 Total fertility rate, 2017 Change in TFR, 2007-2017
France59.9 28.7 1.90 -0.08
Sweden54.5 29.3 1.78 -0.1
Ireland37.6 30.3 1.77 -0.24
Denmark54.2 29.4 1.75 -0.09
United Kingdom48.2 28.9 1.74 -0.12
Romania31.2 26.5 1.71 0.26
Czechia49.0 28.2 1.69 0.24
Latvia40.4 26.9 1.69 0.15
Belgium49.0 29.0 1.65 -0.17
Lithuania26.7 27.5 1.63 0.27
Netherlands51.0 29.9 1.62 -0.1
Slovenia57.5 28.8 1.62 0.24
EU2841.1 29.1 1.59 0.03
Estonia58.6 27.7 1.59 -0.1
Germany 34.7 29.6 1.57 0.2
Bulgaria58.9 26.1 1.56 0.07
Hungary44.7 28.0 1.54 0.22
Austria42.0 29.3 1.52 0.14
Slovakia40.1 27.1 1.52 0.25
Finland44.8 29.1 1.49 -0.34
Poland24.1 27.3 1.48 0.17
Croatia19.9 28.6 1.42 -0.06
Luxembourg40.8 30.8 1.39 -0.22
Portugal54.9 29.6 1.38 0.03
Greece10.3 30.4 1.35 -0.06
Italy32.8 31.1 1.32 -0.08
Cyprus20.3 29.7 1.32 -0.12
Spain46.8 30.9 1.31 -0.07
Malta25.9 29.0 1.26 -0.09
        
Turkey3.0 : 2.07 -0.06
Montenegro15.7 26.3 1.78 -0.02
Iceland71.2 27.9 1.71 -0.38
Norway55.7 29.3 1.62 -0.28
Switzerland25.2 30.7 1.52 0.06
Serbia26.3 27.8 1.49 0.11
Albania: 26.1 1.48 -0.14
North Macedonia11.6 26.9 1.43 -0.03
Source: Eurostat, CSO Vital Statistics
1 For the proportion of live births outside marriage, data for Belgium is 2016, data for EU28 and Malta is 2013 and data for Montenegro is 2009.
2 For the age of mother at birth of first child the data for Montenegro is 2009.
  • The total fertility rate (TFR) in Ireland was 1.77 in 2017, the third highest rate in the EU after France and Sweden, and well above the EU average of 1.59.
  • The lowest fertility rate in the EU was in Malta at 1.26.
  • The total fertility rate decreased in 16 EU countries between 2007 and 2017, including in Ireland.
  • The average age at the birth of first child was 30.3 years in Ireland, the fifth highest age in the EU.
  • The highest average age at birth of first child was 31.1 years in Italy and the lowest was 26.1 in Bulgaria.
  • Nearly six in ten births were outside marriage in France, Bulgaria and Estonia compared to just one in ten in Greece.
  • In Ireland 37.6% of births were outside marriage in 2017.
Table 2.3 Ireland: Life expectancy at birth and at 65 years, 1925-2012
      years
 At birthAt 65 years
PeriodMenWomenDifferenceMenWomenDifference
1925-192757.457.90.512.813.40.6
1935-193758.259.61.412.513.10.6
1940-194259.061.02.012.313.20.9
1945-194760.562.41.912.013.11.1
1950-195264.567.12.612.113.31.2
1960-196268.171.93.812.614.41.8
1965-196768.672.94.312.414.72.3
1970-197268.873.54.712.415.02.6
1978-198069.575.05.512.415.43.0
1980-198270.175.65.512.615.73.1
1985-198771.076.75.712.616.23.6
1990-199272.377.95.613.417.13.7
1995-199773.078.55.513.817.43.6
2001-200375.180.35.215.418.73.3
2005-200776.881.64.816.619.83.2
2010-201278.482.84.417.720.62.9
Source: CSO Irish Life Tables No 15, 2010-2012
  • In Ireland, female life expectancy at birth increased from 57.9 years in the period 1925-1927 to 82.8 years in 2010-2012, an increase of just under 25 years. Over the same time period, male life expectancy at birth increased from 57.4 years to 78.4 years, which is a rise of 21 years.
  • The difference between male and female life expectancy at birth increased from 0.5 years in 1925-1927 to 5.7 years in 1985-1987 before falling in recent years to 4.4 years by 2010-2012.
  • Women's life expectancy at age 65 increased from 13.4 years in 1925-1927 to 20.6 years by 2010-2012 while male life expectancy at age 65 rose from 12.8 years to 17.7 years over the same time period.
  • The difference between male and female life expectancy at 65 years of age increased from 0.6 years in 1925-1927 to 3.7 years in 1990-1992. However this difference had decreased to 2.9 years by 2010-2012.
Table 2.4 EU: Life expectancy at birth, 2017
   years
CountryMalesFemalesDifference
Netherlands80.283.43.2
Sweden80.884.13.3
Ireland80.484.03.6
United Kingdom79.583.13.6
Denmark79.283.13.9
Cyprus80.284.24.0
Malta80.284.64.4
Italy80.885.24.4
Luxembourg79.984.44.5
Austria79.484.04.6
Belgium79.283.94.7
Germany 78.783.44.7
Greece78.883.95.1
EU2878.383.55.2
Spain80.686.15.5
Finland78.984.55.6
Slovenia78.284.05.8
Czechia76.182.05.9
France79.685.66.0
Croatia74.981.06.1
Portugal78.484.66.2
Hungary72.579.36.8
Slovakia73.880.76.9
Bulgaria71.478.47.0
Romania71.779.17.4
Poland73.981.87.9
Estonia73.882.68.8
Lithuania70.780.59.8
Latvia69.879.79.9
    
Albania77.180.13.0
Iceland81.184.33.2
Norway81.084.33.3
North Macedonia74.177.93.8
Switzerland81.685.64.0
Serbia73.178.15.0
Montenegro73.979.25.3
Turkey75.781.35.6
 Source: Eurostat
  • Life expectancy at birth in 2017 for Irish males was 80.4 years, 2.1 years higher than the EU average of 78.3 years.
  • Irish females born in 2017 could expect to live for 84 years, just above the EU average of 83.5 years.
  • The highest life expectancy at birth for males was in Sweden at 80.8 years while the lowest was in Latvia at 69.8 years.
  • The highest female life expectancy at birth was 86.1 years in Spain with the lowest in Bulgaria at 78.4.
  • Females had longer life expectancies than males in all EU countries in 2017, with the smallest gap in the Netherlands at 3.2 years and the largest gap in Latvia at 9.9 years.
  • Over the ten year period from 2007 to 2017, male life expectancy at birth in Ireland rose by 3.1 years, compared to an increase of 1.9 years for females, (see graph).
MalesFemales
200777.382.1
200877.982.4
200977.882.7
201078.583.1
201178.683
201278.783.1
201378.983.1
201479.383.5
201579.683.4
201679.983.6
201780.484
Table 2.5 Ireland: Age-sex specific death rates, 2017
 per 100,000 population 
Age groupMalesFemalesMale : Female ratio
0-465.070.01.0 : 1
5-146.36.91.0 : 1
15-2434.915.32.4 : 1
25-64244.6149.21.6 :1
65-741,715.01,112.01.5 :1
75 and over7,748.76,944.30.8 :1
Source: CSO Vital Statistics
  • The death rate in Ireland for all those aged 15 and over was higher for males in 2017.

  • For children aged under 15 years, the death rate was higher for females.

  • The most pronounced difference was in the 15-24 age group, where the male death rate was more than double that of the female rate. One cause of the higher death rate for young men is the higher rates of fatalities for young men in road traffic accidents, (see Table 1.8).
Open in Excel:
YearMenWomen
20072330.602259930881463.74757958617
20082347.942248620741328.73874133118
20092190.601962036341304.81477348806
20102060.502840869431310.89806300137
20112002.086909690671249.56883367067
20121954.44355690691208.07472885712
20131932.5070228181202.04588209132
20141853.518191828181225.86062132662
20151827.71171.3
20161774.054250303931211.28092689323
20171714.98266376221112.02208476898
  • The death rate for the 65-74 age group decreased by just under a quarter for women (24.0%) over the period 2007-2017.
  • Over the same time period, the death rate for men decreased by just over a quarter, falling by 26.4%.
Table 2.6 Ireland: Mortality by cause of death, 2017
  numberper 100,000 population
Cause of deathMenWomenMenWomen
Circulatory diseases4,6284,261195.1176.0
Malignant neoplasms4,8554,286208.6177.1
Accidents56031024.112.8
Suicide3107313.33.0
Source: CSO Vital Statistics
  • The male mortality rate due to suicide (13.3 per 100,000) was over four times the female rate in 2017. 
  • The mortality rate due to accidents for men (24.1 per 100,000) was nearly twice that of women in 2017.
Table 2.7 Ireland: Persons with a medical card, 2018
         %
 Persons with a medical cardTotal populationProportion with a medical card
Age GroupMaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotal
Under 540,66237,69578,357163,266156,030319,29624.924.224.5
5-1185,97678,133164,109253,152242,520495,67234.032.233.1
12-1548,82444,66893,492132,174125,963258,13736.935.536.2
16-24 65,66072,642138,302275,738265,341541,07923.827.425.6
25-34 48,64676,528125,174306,303320,637626,94015.923.920.0
35-44 74,371100,261174,632376,298391,953768,25119.825.622.7
45-54 86,01796,877182,894322,243325,640647,88326.729.728.2
55-64 82,15288,651170,803261,011265,384526,39531.533.432.4
65-6943,43952,05195,490106,837108,913215,75040.747.844.3
70-7454,24262,370116,61287,41190,242177,65362.169.165.6
75+98,348136,294234,642121,319158,640279,95981.185.983.8
Total728,337846,1701,574,5072,405,7522,451,2634,857,01530.334.532.4
Source: HSE, CSO Population estimates
  • About 30% of males and 34% of females had a medical card in 2018.
  • The proportions of boys and girls up to age 15 with a medical card were similar.
  • However, more women aged 16 and over had a medical card than men. This difference was most pronounced in the 25-34 age group, where 23.9% of women had a medical card compared to 15.9% of men.
  • More than eight in ten people aged 75 years and over had a medical card in 2018.
MalesFemales
under 524.905369152181124.1588156123822
5-1134.032.2
12-1536.935.5
16-2423.812459653729327.3768471514014
25-3415.88165966379723.867488780147
35-4419.763857368362325.579852686419
45-5426.693209782679529.7497236211768
55-6431.474535555972733.4048020980918
65-6940.659134943886547.7913564037351
70-7462.053974900184269.1141597039073
75+81.065620389221885.9140191628845
Table 2.8 Ireland: Acute hospital discharges by principal diagnosis, 20181
  number %
DiagnosisMalesFemalesMalesFemales
Neoplasms72,35368,5478.87.5
Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs49,33957,6796.06.3
Circulatory diseases46,10231,0475.63.4
Respiratory diseases46,17845,8705.65.0
Digestive diseases84,05384,19110.39.2
Genitourinary diseases28,20946,7453.45.1
Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium0112,9860.012.3
Symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions61,15867,7007.57.4
Injury and poisoning35,26029,1154.33.2
Other diagnoses 137,392141,02116.815.3
Supplementary classifications257,807234,46031.525.5
   of which Dialysis108,36262,16013.26.8
Total817,851919,361100.0100.0
Total discharges per 1,000 population339.9375.1   
Source: Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE), Statistics and Analytics Unit, Department of Health
1HIPE data covers discharges from all publicly funded acute hospitals.
  • There was a higher rate of discharge from acute hospitals for women in 2018, with a rate of 375.1 for women compared to 339.9 for men.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth accounted for about one in eight (12.3%) discharges for women.
  • Males were more likely to have dialysis then females, with 108,362 discharges for males compared to 62,160 for females.
Table 2.9 Ireland: Acute hospital discharges by patient type, 2008-20181
per 1,000 population
Year          Day patients2          In-patients          All patients
 MalesFemalesMalesFemalesMalesFemales
2008173.6170.3108.3158.1281.9328.4
2009182.5179.6106.3154.1288.8333.7
2010193.4183.7105.0153.1298.4336.8
2011195.0191.4104.5152.7299.5344.1
2012199.7200.1111.6160.8311.2360.8
2013201.2202.7110.9158.3312.2361.0
2014205.2208.4112.5159.1317.7367.5
2015217.3222.0112.3157.8329.6379.8
2016222.7224.8113.4157.8336.1382.7
2017224.6224.8112.8154.5337.4379.3
2018226.4221.0113.6154.1339.9375.1
Source: Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE), Statistics and Analytics Unit, Department of Health
1HIPE data covers discharges from all publicly funded acute hospitals.
2 From 1 January 2006 the HIPE system includes data on patients admitted for dialysis in dedicated dialysis units which were previously excluded from HIPE
  • The rate of discharges for day patients in 2018 was 226.4 for males and 221.0 for females.
  • Discharges of day patients increased by about 30% for both males and females between 2008 and 2018.
  • In contrast, there was a much smaller rate of change in discharges of in-patients over this time period, with the number of male in-patient discharges increasing by 4.9%  and the number of female dropping by 2.5%.
Table 2.10 Ireland: Persons with an Intelectual Disability by Level of Disability, 2017
 number%
Level MenWomenTotalMenWomen
Not Verified1,7878172,60410.77.0
Mild5,3363,8159,15131.832.8
Moderate6,8674,92011,78741.042.3
Severe2,2571,6403,89713.514.1
Profound5214289493.13.7
Total16,76811,62028,388100100
Source: National Intellectual Disability Database, Health Research Board, 2017
  • There were 28,388 persons registered on the National Intellectual Disability database in 2017, of whom 59% were male.
  • The gender breakdown at each level of disability shows a similar pattern, with men representing more than half of persons in each category.
  • Approximately three-quarters of both males and females with a disability were classified as having a mild or moderate disability.
Table 2.11 Ireland: Admissions to psychiatric hospitals and units, 2018
 per 100,000 population of which: first admissions (%)
ConditionMalesFemalesMalesFemales
Organic Mental Disorders10.78.355.156.6
Alcoholic Disorders28.017.735.436.2
Other Drug Disorders32.39.742.736.1
Schizophrenia, Schizotypal and Delusional Disorders89.356.524.523.9
Depressive Disorders78.195.142.134.0
Mania28.937.625.222.3
Neuroses29.332.454.946.9
Eating Disorders0.16.40.042.2
Personality and Behavioural Disorders16.443.031.121.6
Intellectual Disability1.81.038.920.0
Development Disorders1.60.243.80.0
Behavioural and Emotional Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence0.30.333.333.3
Other and Unspecified45.144.149.446.5
Total362.0352.237.833.2
Source: Health Research Board, Activities of Irish Psychiatric Services
  • In 2018 the rate of admission to psychiatric units for males was 362 per 100,000 population, higher than the rate for women at 352.2 per 100,000.
  • For males the highest cause of admission was Schizophrenia, Schizotypal and Delusional Disorders, with a rate of 89.3 per 100,000. This was about 37% higher than females admitted for this condition
  • For females the highest cause of admission was depressive disorders, with a rate of 95.1 per 100,000. Depressive disorders was the second highest cause of admission for males.
  • There were clear gender differences in the rate of admissions for other conditions. Women were more than twice as likely as men to be admitted for personality and behavioural disorders.
  • The male rate of admissions for alcoholic disorders was more than 50% higher than the female rate, and for other drug disorders admissions for males was more than three times that of females.
  • For Intellectual Disabilities, Development Disorders and Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence the admission rate for males and females was very similar and had a significantly lower rate than some of the other disorders.
Table 2.12 Ireland: Recipients of Carer's Benefit and Carer's Allowance, 2008-20181
   number 
YearMenWomenTotal% women
20089,17536,64345,81880.0
200910,21339,92650,13979.6
201010,52440,05350,57779.2
201111,16642,13753,30379.1
201211,47742,37053,84778.7
201313,01145,72358,73477.8
201413,37646,00659,38077.5
201514,41348,59063,00377.1
201616,48153,97870,45976.6
201717,74157,52375,26476.4
201818,80761,10779,91476.5
Source: Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
1 In 2018 the Carer's Allowance, (which was paid to 2,750 people in 2018), was not included in this table.
  • There were 79,914 people receiving Carer's Allowance in 2018, of whom about three-quarters (76.5%) were women.
  • The number of recipients has grown strongly since 2008, when 45,818 received this allowance.
  • The number of men receiving Carer's Allowance more than doubled between 2008 and 2018, rising from 9,175 to 18,807.
Table 2.13 Ireland: Recipients of Carer's Allowance by age, 2018
  number  
Age groupMenWomenTotal% women
Under 2521767989675.8
25-341,0656,6297,69486.2
35-442,81315,14517,95884.3
45-545,13416,47621,61076.2
55-644,47411,10815,58271.3
65 & over5,10411,07016,17468.4
Total18,80761,10779,91476.5
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
  • Just over half (51.7%) of all women in receipt of caring-related social welfare payments in 2018 were aged between 35 and 54.
  • More than a quarter (27.3%) of men in receipt of these payments were aged between 45 and 54 and a similar amount (27.1%) were aged 65 or over.
Table 2.14 Ireland: Number of carers by age group and hours of unpaid help provided per week, 2016
 
Hours per weekAged 0-14 Aged 15 and over Total
MaleFemaleTotal MaleFemaleTotal MaleFemaleTotal
1-141,0151,0602,075 33,84147,83881,679 34,85648,89883,754
15-28 116140256 11,65019,22330,873 11,76619,36331,129
29-42434588 5,8838,89714,780 5,9268,94214,868
43 or more108102210 13,93127,04440,975 14,03927,14641,185
Not stated5935781,171 9,93213,22423,156 10,52513,80224,327
Total carers1,8751,9253,800 75,237116,226191,463 77,112118,151195,263
Source: CSO Census of Population
  • More than six out of ten (61%) of the 195,263 carers providing unpaid help in 2016 were female.
  • About 31% of female carers and about 26% of male carers provided 29 hours or more of unpaid help each week in 2016.

  • The vast majority (98%) of carers were aged 15 and over but 3,800 were children aged 14 or younger.
Table 2.15 Ireland: Health service personnel by grade category1, 2019
   number 
Grade categoryMenWomenTotal% women
Medical/Dental - Consultant2,0551,4283,48341.0
Medical/Dental - non-Consultant4,4004,8939,29352.7
Nursing & midwifery4,06140,18444,24590.8
Health & social care professionals2,98516,00218,98784.3
Management & administrative3,62017,55821,17882.9
General support4,7456,21210,95756.7
Patient and client care7,26423,84831,11276.7
Total29,130110,125139,25579.1
Source: Health Service Executive, Health Service Personnel Census
1Figures refer to Public Health Sector Employment (HSE and Section 38 Voluntary Hospitals & Agencies).
  • Four out of five (79.1%) employees in the Health Service in Ireland were women in 2019.
  • Women were in the majority in all the grades except Medical & Dental consultants where men held 59% of the positions.
  • Just over 90% of nurses were females, while more than 80% of Health & social care professionals and Management & administrative workers were female.
WomenMen
Total79.081541057771720.9184589422283
Nursing & midwifery90.82156175839089.17843824160921
Health & social care professionals84.278717016906315.7212829830937
Management & administrative82.90679006516217.093209934838
Patient and client care76.652095654409923.3479043455901
General support56.694350643424343.3056493565757
Medical/Dental - non-Consultant52.652534165500947.3474658344991
Medical/Dental - Consultant40.999138673557359.0008613264427