Why has Ireland so many childless women?
Our birth rate is the top in Europe, but nearly 18pc of Irish women have no children. Sarah Carey thinks she knows why
Well now. Isn't this interesting? According to classical economic theory, when people have less money, they have fewer children. But several years ago I suggested that Irish women were responding to the financial crisis by getting preggers. A life-affirming, opportunity-cost thing.
Sure enough, the census figures and a Eurostat report out last week have backed up my instincts. Ireland's birth rate is the highest in Europe. Hurrah! To hell with the recession! We've just kept going, churning out the babies: money or no money, childcare or no childcare.
And once Irish women get going, there's no stopping them. Throughout Europe, it's usually poorer people who have larger families. But across all social classes, Ireland has the highest number of families in Europe with four or more children.