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01st Nov 2018

Births to teenage mums have halved in 10 years in Ireland

They're at the lowest rate in over 50 years.

Anna O'Rourke

The number of babies born to teenage mothers halved in the ten years up to 2016, new figures show.

Births to women under the age of 20 made up just 1.7 per cent of all births that year.

That’s the lowest teenage birth rate since 1960.

These numbers, from the CSO’s Vital Statistics report for 2016, reflect a trend for older mothers in general in Ireland.

Irish mums are also the oldest on average in the EU – the average age at maternity is 32.7. Spain, where mums are an average of 32 at birth, is second on the list.

Mums over 40 accounted for 6.9 per cent of all births in 2016, the highest level since 1968.

Just over a quarter of babies (27.7) were born to women under 30, meanwhile.

Births to teenage mums down halved in 10 years in Ireland

More than a third of babies (36.6 per cent) were born to unmarried couples. That compares to a rate of 9.6 per cent thirty years previously in 1986.

The twinning rate hit an all-time high of 19 per 1,000 pregnancies in 2016.

It represents a significant jump over the past few decades – the rate was at a low of 11.7 in 1994.

The overall rate of births in Ireland fell by 15.1 per cent between 2010 and 2016.

The Vital Statistics report reveals that the biggest cause of death in the country is circulatory diseases – 9,237 people died of such causes in 2016.

Cancer also continues to be a big killer, accounting for 9,171 deaths.