Wednesday 20 September 2017

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

BUT IS HE FATHER MATERIAL?: Alison, played by Katherine Heigl, decides to give Ben, Seth Rogen, a chance when she gets pregnant by him, despite the fact he’s an irresponsible slacker. Nearly 18pc of Irish women in their mid-40s are childless
BUT IS HE FATHER MATERIAL?: Alison, played by Katherine Heigl, decides to give Ben, Seth Rogen, a chance when she gets pregnant by him, despite the fact he’s an irresponsible slacker. Nearly 18pc of Irish women in their mid-40s are childless
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

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.

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