Marriage rate back at boom-time level, figures show

CSO yearbook also reveals State’s favourite children’s names remain Jack and Emily

The number of people getting married in Ireland has returned to boom-time levels, but both men and women are waiting longer to tie the knot.

If they have children, their favourite names remain Jack and Emily.

And if Jack and Emily are gay and enter civil partnerships, they are least likely to do it in Donegal or Monaghan, based on what happened last year.

This snapshot, and many others besides, is contained in The Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2015 published yesterday by the Central Statistics Office. It was the 50th edition of the yearbook and it covers many aspects of life and work in contemporary Ireland, comparing findings with previous years.


The estimated population now stands at 4.64 million, with 2.29 million males and 2.35 million females.

In terms of age groups, 1,029,400 of the 4.64 million were aged 14 years or under; 516,700 were aged 15 to 24 years; with the largest group, the 25- to 44-year-olds, accounting for 1.38 million. There were 1.1 million people in the 45 to 64 bracket and 606,000 aged 65 or over.

The statistical abstracts support the view that generally, we like each other. There were 22,045 marriages in 2014, compared to 20,979 in 2004. In the boom years, that figure rose to 22,756 in 2007, but dropped to a low of 19,855 in 2011.

Marriage age

The average age for men getting married is now 35 and for women 33 - a considerable increase since 2004 when it was 33 for a man and 30.9 for a woman.

The overwhelming majority of couples opt for religious ceremonies. Of these 13,072 were Roman Catholic, 445 Church of Ireland, 81 Presbyterian, 27 Methodist and one Jewish.

Other religious ceremonies accounted for 538 marriages but there has been a marked growth, since 2004, in civil marriages.

The numbers last year were 6,167, compared to 4,286, 10 years previously.

Future yearbooks will record the number of same-sex marriages, but for now, the only data on same-sex unions relates to civil partnership. In 2014, there were 392, of which 242 were between men and 150 between women.

Some 76 per cent of those involved reside in Leinster, with 39.5 per cent giving an address in Dublin as their future residence. Donegal and Monaghan had no civil partnerships last year.

A total of 67,462 children born were in 2014, compared to 75,554 in 2009. Of the 2014 births, some 55,000 were born to mothers aged between 25 and 39.

Twenty three children were born to mothers aged 15 years and under. Some 36.3 per cent of all births (24,490) were outside marriage or civil partnership.

Jack has been the been the most popular boys name every year since 2009, with James, Daniel, Conor and Seán close behind. The top spot for girls has switched between Emily and Sophie, with Emma, Grace and Ava also popular.

Cancer and heart disease, and related problems with the circulatory system, remain, overwhelmingly, the cause of death for most people. Both account for 193 deaths per 100,000 people, with diseases of the respiratory system coming a distant third at 74 deaths per 100,000.

The rate of suicide remained essentially static in 2014 at 10 deaths per 100,000 people, a drop of 0.3 on the previous year.

On internet access, the Yearbook shows that over 80 per cent of homes in Dublin and its surrounding counties have internet access, with the rest of the country having access rates of between 75 and 80 per cent.

Building on rise

On business and the economy, the yearbook shows home building is on the rise, with a 10.4 per cent increase in the number of planning permissions in 2014 on the previous year.

Permissions for apartments were down by 34.4 per cent.

Rising retail sales and industrial production fed into a 6.9 per cent rise in Gross National Product (GNP) between 2013 and 2014.

Households owed €96.9 billion to Irish banks at the end of 2014 – 10 per cent lower than the €107.7 billion at the end of 2013.

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh is a contributor to The Irish Times