Financial crisis sparks baby boom
TIMES may be tough but a record baby boom has followed the country's financial collapse.
The current birth rate in Ireland is at the highest level since the CSO began keeping records in 1960 -- at 17.8 births per 1,000 population.
The first quarter of 2011 saw 19,950 births registered -- the most recorded in 51 years -- and an increase of almost 7pc over the first three months of 2010.
There were also more boys born than girls, with 10,221 males and 9,729 females born respectively. The number of babies born during that time was almost a third higher than during the height of the Celtic Tiger in 2002 when only 14,972 births were registered during the same period.
The only other time when birth figures were so high was during the beginning of the last recession; in the second quarter of 1980, when 19,339 births were registered; and the autumn of 2009, when 19,289 births were registered. And judging by the so-called "snow baby" phenomenon, it appears that bad weather as well as gloomy economic times have had a positive impact on our birthrate.
Hospitals across the country are reporting overcrowding in their maternity wards, with many reporting a massive surge in the number of babies born between August and September who would have been conceived during last winter's Big Freeze.
The latest CSO figures, meanwhile, reveal that the largest number of mothers giving birth was in the Dublin region, followed by the southwest and mideast.
The majority of babies were born to mothers of Irish nationality (78pc) followed by mothers from EU accession states (10.4pc).
A third of the babies were born outside of marriage (6,768).
Limerick city had the largest percentage of babies born out of wedlock at 52pc, compared with Co Leitrim which had the lowest percentage of births outside marriage at 21pc.
The average age of mothers was 31.7 years old, while the average age of first-time mother was 29.7 years old.
The survey also revealed there were 7,651 deaths during the same period, a slight increase of 1.2pc on the same period in 2010, bringing the actual or natural increase in the population to 12,299.
The majority of people who died were over the age of 65 (6,089).
Suicide and car accidents claimed the most lives of people aged 15-34, while cancer was the leading cause of death of people aged between 35 and 74.
Heart disease and diseases of the arteries was the leading cause of death of those aged 75 and older.