The Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI), Health Research and Information Division, has issued its perinatal statistics report for 2012 for all babies born in Ireland in 2012.
The statistics show that Ireland’s birth rate is declining and that 71,986 births were notified to the NPRS in 2012 compared with 74,377 births in 2011. This represents a reduction of 3.2% since 2011 and 5.3% since the peak in 2009.
Ireland has consistently had the highest birth rate over the period, and while it shows an increase from 15.5 per 1000 population in 2003 to a high of 16.8 per 1,000 population in 2008 it has declined to 16.2 per 1,000 in 2011 and 15.6 per 1,000 population in 2012.
After Ireland, the countries with the next highest birth rates are the United Kingdom and France (12.8 and 12.6 respectively) followed by Sweden and Cyprus (11.9 and 11.8 respectively). In 2012, Germany (8.4) had the lowest birth rate and Portugal had a birth rate of (8.5). The average birth rate for the 27 EU countries is 10.4 per 1,000 population.
The good news is that the pattern of decline in the perinatal mortality rate is continuing. This rate is estimated at 5.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2012 compared with 6.1 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2011 which represents a reduction of over 3%. When compared with 2003, when the perinatal mortality rate was 8.6 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths, the 2012 rate represents a reduction of 31%.
The stillbirth rate is estimated at 3.9 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2012 compared with 5.8 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2003, and 4.0 per 1,000 live births and stillbirths in 2011, representing a reduction of 33% over the decade and a slight decrease of 3% between 2011 and 2012.
The Total Period Fertility Rate (TPFR) for a given year indicates the number of children a woman could expect to have if the Age-Specific Fertility Rates (ASFR) for that year applied throughout her fertile years. The ASFR refers to the number of live births to women in a particular age group per 1,000 women.
The Irish TPFR increased from an average of 1.97 in 2003 to a high of 2.07 in 2008 and is now declining, the estimated TPFR for 2012 being 1.99.
The TPFR for Ireland is based on population data for 2012, and at 1.99 is below the level required for the long-term replacement of the population in the absence of any net inward migration (2.10).
Ireland also had the highest TPFR in the 27 EU countries for 2012.
France and Sweden were just behind Ireland with a TPFR of 1.98 and 1.93 respectively, while Portugal (1.32) and Malta (1.36) recorded the lowest TPFR in 2012.
The full report can be found on this link