Ireland has highest birth rate in the EU
Statistics show State has suffered one of the highest falls in employment in EU
Ireland recorded the highest fertility rate in the EU in 2011, with 2.05 live births per woman.
We are the most fertile state in the EU but we are more at risk of poverty than most other EU states.
We’ve seen one of the highest falls in employment rates but also one of the largest reductions in our standardised death rates for diseases of the respiratory system.
These facts, and many more, are brought together by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical office in its 2013 regional yearbook which has just been published.
It shows that Ireland recorded the highest fertility rate in the EU in 2011, with 2.05 live births per woman.
It was followed by France, at 2.01 and the UK at 1.96, while Hungary recorded the lowest birth rate at 1.23.
It also found that Ireland is still a rural country, recording the highest share of the population living in predominantly rural regions, at 72.4 per cent.
Other states with high numbers of people living in rural areas include Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland.
The yearbook shows that the population grew at its most rapid pace across most of Belgium, in eastern Ireland, Luxembourg, parts of France, Italy and Sweden in 2011.
Negative net migration was more than offset by a higher rate of natural increase in capital cities such as Dublin, Madrid and Paris.
However, more people left western Ireland than arrived in that year.
Lithuania and Ioannina in northwest Greece were among the places worst affected by net migration rates.
The yearbook also compares health statistics across Europe. It found that the number of hospital beds across the EU has continued to decrease, falling by 12.7 per cent between 2000 and 2010.
With Sweden and the UK, Ireland had one of the lowest rates of available hospital beds per 100,000 inhabitants, while the highest ratios were reported in countries such as Germany, Austria and Hungary.
The report found that Ireland has one of the highest participation rates of four-year-olds in pre-primary or primary education with more than 95 per cent enrolled in school.
Ireland was also one of 10 regions with the highest growth in regular internet use between 2009 and 2011, with more than 60 per cent of people accessing the internet at least once a week.
And it was the only multiregion EU member state to report that even its lowest regional share of employment in the high tech sector was still above the EU average.
It will come as no surprise to hear that the report found one of the lowest shares of people working in construction in Ireland.
Hamburg in Germany recorded the lowest share of persons working in the construction sector at 3.7 per cent of the non-financial business economy workforce in 2010 but the Border, midlands and western region of Ireland reported employment shares of less than 5 per cent.
“This was in stark contrast to the prominence of the construction sector in Ireland during the period from the late 1990s through to 2007.
In this period, the country experienced a construction boom and undeerwent some of the highest levels of construction activity in Europe,” the yearbook noted.