Baby-making is boom industry with births at a 118-year high
BABIES were one of the few growth industries in 2009 as Ireland produced more children than any year since 1891.
But the baby boom was in spite of, rather than in response to, the recession as it was linked to the high number of women in the key childbearing age group, a research expert said.
A new CSO report showed some 75,554 babies were born in Ireland in 2009, the highest in over a century.
But the increase was mainly down to demographics as there was a swell in the number of women in their late 20s and early 30s -- the key years in Ireland for having babies -- said Gerard O'Neill, chairman of Amarach Consulting.
This baby boom had been going on for about four years up till 2009 and would have been expected to continue for a few more years.
However, the recession intervened, resulting in a slight dip in births since then.
"We did a study recently for EUMOM, which showed that many mothers are now putting off having more children because of the recession," he said.
CSO figures also showed that the marriage rate has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, with couples increasingly opting for civil ceremonies instead of church weddings.
Some 29pc of those tying the knot in 2009 did so in a civil ceremony, up 17pc in the year, and this trend was particularly pronounced in Dublin and amongst older couples.
Two-thirds of couples getting married opted for a Catholic church wedding but that's down from 90pc as recently as 1996.
Brides are waiting until they're 31.8 years old to get married, compared to just 24 in 1977, while grooms have also aged, waiting until they're 34, compared to 26 in 1977.
Although the marriage rate has fallen, it's still slightly higher than the EU average.
Irish women still have the highest fertility rate in the EU with an average of 2.1 children each, with most giving birth when aged between 30 and 34.
Almost one-quarter of births were to non-Irish mothers, while one-third of babies were born outside marriage.
Heart and circulatory system disease accounted for one-third of deaths in 2009, followed by cancer at 30pc and respiratory disease at 12.7pc.
Other leading causes of death were injury and poisoning, disease of the digestive and nervous systems and endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disease.
Amongst young adults injury and poisoning were the leading causes of death, while there was a 9pc increase in suicide with some 552 dying this way. Some 80pc of them were men.
The number of deaths of infants under one year old fell from 284 in 2008 to 247.