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Ireland not having enough babies to replace population, says report

1 June 2018

Irish women are having 1.8 children on average.

Yet it's still better than most of Europe

Less than a week after Ireland voted to legislate for abortion, a report by the country's Central Statistics Office has said that not enough babies are being born to replace the population.

The Vital Statistics report, published on Wednesday, shows that the number of babies born has continued to fall, down to 62,053 in 2017, a drop of 8,567 (12.1%) since 2007.

The report also gives the total period fertility rate (TPFR), which represents the average number of children a woman is expected have. A value of 2.1 is generally considered to be the level at which the population would replace itself in the long run, ignoring migration. "In 2017 the TPFR for Ireland was 1.8, which is below replacement level."

Despite the fall, Ireland is still has one of the highest fertility rates in Europe, behind only France and Sweden. 

Worrying trends

More than one-third of babies (23,340 or 37.6%) were born outside of marriage/civil partnerships, and of these 58.9% were to co-habiting parents. In recent conception statistics for the UK, which include abortion rates, 68% of conceptions outside marriage or civil partnership resulted in a maternity (live birth or stillbirth), compared with 92% of conceptions within marriage or civil partnership. 

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