Twenty-two girls aged under 16 became mothers last year

The girls are among 980 teenagers who gave birth during 2018

Some 55%  of all births in Limerick were to unmarried mothers, compared to 24%  in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area of south Dublin. Photograph: Getty

Some 55% of all births in Limerick were to unmarried mothers, compared to 24% in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area of south Dublin. Photograph: Getty

 

Twenty-two children became mothers in Ireland last year, according to latest official figures.

The girls, aged under 16, are among 980 teenagers who gave birth during 2018, a yearly summary of births and deaths by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows.

The report also shows a rising number of mothers of newborns aged 45 and over in recent years, with 327 in that age bracket last year. There were 309 the previous year and 295 in 2016.

The average age of first time mothers was 31.1 years - up slightly from the previous year - while the average age of all mothers of new-born babies was just under 33.

Of the 61,016 babies delivered last year, just over six in ten (62 per cent) were registered as being born within marriage. Of these, two were within civil partnerships.

Almost four in ten (38 per cent) were registered as outside of marriage or civil partnership, up slightly from the previous year.

Geographically, the figures also show babies are significantly more or less likely to be born to wedded parents depending on what part of the country they live.

Well over half (55 per cent) of all births in Limerick were to unmarried mothers, compared to less than a quarter (24 per cent) in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area of south Dublin.

Unsurprisingly, the highest number of babies were born in major cities, with more than 7,000 born in Dublin and over 5,500 in Cork - the two cities being home to almost a fifth of all newborns in 2018.

In contrast, there were less than 400 babies born in Leitrim - less than 1 per cent of all newborns.

More than three quarters of babies (77 per cent) were born to mothers of Irish nationality - down very slightly from the previous year.

More than 10 per cent of mothers were from the EU, while less than 8 per cent were from outside the EU.

Overall, there was a declining birth rate, with 1,037 fewer births compared with 2017.

At the same time, there were 31,116 deaths during last year, up 2 per cent from the previous year.

Of these, 187 were infant deaths, giving an infant mortality rate of 3.1 per 1,000 live births.