Ireland fertility rate stands at 2.1 babies per woman which is exactly the number needed to replace the current population level and is the highest in the EU.
A new report from the ESRI looks at Irish birth in 2009. It also finds that a quarter of children were born to non-nationals. A third of births took place outside marriage.
The Irish fertility rate has been climbing in recent years partly due to the number of women who have reached their child-bearing years together and because of immigration, especially from Eastern Europe.
France has the second highest fertility rate in the EU at 2.0, while Sweden and the UK stand at 1.9 each. The lowest fertility rate in the EU is 2009 was Hungary’s, Portugal’s and Latvia’s at 1.3.
Austria, Germany, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain were all tied on 1.4.
In the year examined, there were 76,021 births in Ireland, with 50,208 of these being to married mothers.
Of the remainder, 24,477 were never married, 101 were widowed, 698 were separated, and 453 were divorced. Eighty-four did not give their marital status.
The report also lists the nationality of the father, but in 18,083 cases it was not listed on the birth cert because if a child’s mother is unmarried there is no need to provide the nationality of the father.
One in ten birth certificates in Ireland does not even show the father’s name according to a Law Reform Commission report.
Of the children born in 2009, 18,140 were to non-nationals. Of these, 7,816 were from EU countries in Eastern Europe, 3,046 were Asian and 2,604 were African.