Age of women giving birth rises

Tue, May 1, 2012, 01:00

THE AVERAGE age of women giving birth in the State continues to rise. Vital Statistics was published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office. The report gives figures for the third quarter of last year, and shows 19,222 births were recorded in the State.

The average age of women giving birth in the quarter was 31.7 years, compared with 31.4 for the same period in 2010 and 30.4 years in 2002.

The increase was also reflected in the older age category, with more women in their early 40s giving birth to children than in previous years. A total of 972 children were born to women aged 40-44 during the quarter. This accounts for 5.1 per cent of all births in the period, compared with 4.6 per cent (878 births) recorded in the same period of 2010.

Thirty-nine per cent (7,514) of all births in the period were to first-time mothers – a slight drop from 41 per cent for the corresponding period in 2010 and 41.6 per cent in 2006.

The average age of first-time mothers was 29.7 and the average age of first-time mothers giving birth outside marriage was 26.8.

This figure ranged from 30.4 years in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown to 26.8 years in Limerick city.

The number of marriages in the State during the period was 7,538, which is the equivalent of an annual marriage rate of 6.6 per 1,000. This figure represents a decrease of 0.4 on the same period in 2010 and a drop from the 7.9 per 1,000 recorded in the third quarter of 2006.

There were 65 infant deaths recorded in the third quarter of 2011, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is the same figure recorded for the corresponding period in 2006 and a drop from the 4.4 recorded in 2002.

Forty-one neonatal deaths were registered in the same period, giving a neonatal mortality rate of 2.1 per 1,000 live births. This figure shows a fall from the 2.7 recorded in 2006 and 3.2 per 1,000 live births recorded in 2002. Neonatal deaths are defined as deaths of infants aged four weeks and under.

The figures show a total of 6,911 deaths for the period. The principal cause of death varied widely by age group.

External causes of death, including accidents and suicide, accounted for the primary cause for young adults aged 15-44.

Cancer was the leading cause of death for adults aged 45-74 and heart disease and diseases of the arteries were the leading cause of death in those aged over 75 years.

The figures show a total of 5,303 deaths of people aged 65 years and over during the period.

Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for 2,265 deaths, or 33 per cent, and malignant cancers accounted for 2,163 deaths.

The natural increase in the population (births minus deaths) for the period was 7,538. The population in April 2011 was 4,588,252.