People living in Ireland are having significantly fewer children now than a decade ago despite the thriving economy, the Central Statistics Office yearbook reveals.
Last year 61,016 babies were born in the Republic, the lowest figure since 2002. That is a fall of 1.6 per cent on 2017’s figure of 62,053 and almost 20 per cent down from the peak in 2009 when 75,554 babies were born.
Despite the fall in births, the population of the Republic has continued to increase because of inward migration and declining deaths and is now almost at 5 million. As a result of this the birth rate – the rate of births per head of population – has fallen even further.
Since the beginning of this century, birth rates in Ireland peaked at 16.8 births per thousand in 2008. It is now down to 12.6 births per thousand, a decrease of 25 per cent .
CSO figures due out at the end of the month will show the replacement rate for the population, which is an average of 2.1 children per woman, will fall below that figure, although the Republic still has one of the highest birth rates in the EU.