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Sunday 18 February 2018

Birth rate jumps as glitch in CSO data revealed

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

THOUSANDS more babies were born in the past four years than first thought after the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed vital data had been lost.

Hundreds of deaths were also missing from the figures in the latest blunder in compiling statistics on the country's population.

The CSO receives the statistical information from the General Register Office (GRO) on a weekly basis, but recently discovered some transferred data had never been received.

After an investigation, officials revealed there were 2,561 additional babies born between 2008 and 2010 than initially realised, while 443 more people died in 2010.

This means that there were more than 2,000 more citizens than the CSO had previously thought.

The CSO blamed the blunder on "data omission" in the transfer of files from the GRO.

"There was an issue and some of the files didn't get through. We didn't realise some were missing until we carried out an investigation," a CSO official said.

"We were just looking at numbers and we realised there were some numbers missing, and we then went back over sequence numbers and discovered that we were missing some of the data."

The CSO said measures had been put in place to ensure the same problem did not occur again, including checking with the GRO when information was sent.

The CSO said the anomaly was discovered during a look-back at the figures, when officials realised they did not tally with similar statistics from the think tank, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The revised data means the number of babies born in the first three months of 2009 jumped from 18,787 to 19,437, and increased from 18,535 in the first three months of 2010 to 19,787.

Births also increased between July and September in 2008 from 18,991 to 19,650.

The revised data fractionally altered the birth rates for the years.

It is the second anomaly to hit the CSO. Last July it was revealed that preliminary census results showed the state agency had underestimated the population of Ireland by 100,000 people.

Results

Annual population estimates from the CSO had put the population at 4.47 million people But the preliminary census results showed that the population was actually 4.58 million.

Meanwhile, the latest statistics on births, deaths and marriages for April to June last year show 47pc of births in Limerick were outside of marriage -- the highest in the State. The lowest were in counties Galway and Cork, at 25pc.

There were 18,381 births registered between April and June -- more than a fifth higher than in 2002, when 15,247 babies were born.

Some 7,277 deaths were registered between April and June, up 5pc on the same period in 2010.

There were 5,025 marriages registered, up 22 on the same period in 2010 and an increase of 215 from 2002.

Irish Independent

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