Irish birth and fertility rates continue to decline, CSO figures show

Research finds decline in the number of registered births with 54,678 recorded last year

Women are waiting longer to have their first child, according to new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The average age of first-time mothers was 31.6 years in 2023. This is an increase of 3.4 years when compared with 2003, when the average age was 28.2 years old.

According to the CSO, there has been a decrease in the number of registered births, from 68,930 in 2013 to 54,678 in 2023. This represents an annual birth rate of 10.4 per 1,000 of population.

The fertility rate was also found to have declined from 2.0 in 2013 to 1.5 in 2023. A value of 2.1 is usually considered to be the level that the population would replace itself in the long run, ignoring migration.


Covid-19 was identified as the underlying cause of death in 2.2 per cent of the 35,459 registered deaths in 2023, half the number attributed to the disease the previous year.

The annual death rate for 2023 was 6.7 per 1,000 of population. This is down from 7.2 in 2003. Some 51.8 per cent of registered deaths in 2023 were men. More than four-fifths of all registered deaths were people aged 65 years or older. The 85-years-and-older age group had the highest number of registered deaths at 36.5 per cent in 2023.

More than half of the registered deaths in 2023 were caused by malignant neoplasms (tissue growths, such as tumours) or diseases of the circulatory system.

Other common causes of registered deaths included malignant neoplasms, external causes of injury and poisoning, and diseases of the circulatory system.

Some 3.8 per cent of registered deaths last year were due to accidents, suicide and other external causes. There were also 162 infant (under the age of one) deaths and 124 neonatal (under four weeks) deaths registered.

The CSO figures also included marriages in 2023, of which there were 21,159, a decrease compared with the 23,173 registered in 2022. Of those marriages last year, 646 or 3.05 per cent were same-sex marriages.