The Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI) perinatal statistics reveal that Ireland with 76,021 births recorded in 2009 has the highest birth rate in Europe.
The ESRI report for 2009, the most up to date figures, show that the total fertility rate has increased steadily over the last decade from an average of 1.9 in 2000 to 2.1 in 2009. At 2.1 the fertility rate now stands at a level required for the long-term replacement of the population in the absence of any net inward migration. France had the next highest total fertility rate for the period at 2.0 or just below replacement level.
The report also says 2009 saw a further decline in the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths. The mortality rate was 6.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2009, down from 8.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2000.
Professor Michael Turner, director of the HSE Obstetrics and Gynaecology programme, said the report shows the perinatal mortality rate in Ireland has improved in the first decade of the 21st century. "There has been a significant decline in both the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths which is a tribute to all the staff in the different disciplines working in the maternity hospitals," he said
The ESRI report says that almost 24% of the births were to mothers born outside Ireland. It also says that in the 12 months covered by the report, the average age of women giving birth was 31.3 years, 27% of births were to women over the age of 35 and 3% to women aged 19 or less.