Belfast Telegraph

First quarter birth rate in decline

The number of babies born in the first quarter of the year was down 9% from the same time in 2012, official figures have revealed.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed a total 17,563 births were registered in January, February and March - down from 19,313 in the first quarter of last year.

The figures indicated an annual birth rate of 15.3 births per 1,000 people - down from 16.9 in the first quarter of 2012.

Geographically, the highest birth rate was recorded in Fingal, at 19.6 births per 1,000 people, while Donegal had the lowest at 11.4 per 1,000.

The CSO Vital Statistics First Quarter 2013 report also revealed that 36.5% of all births were registered outside of marriage.

Of those 6,406 births, 3,685 were to parents living together but not married.

More than half the babies born in Limerick City were born to unmarried parents, while Leitrim recorded the lowest portion of babies born outside of marriage.

While fewer births were recorded across Ireland in the first quarter of 2013 compared with the same time last year, the number of deaths increased.

Some 8,347 deaths were registered in the first three months of the year - up 4.6% from the same period in 2012.

The new figures represent a death rate of 7.3 per 1,000 people.

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