Teenage pregnancy at lowest level since the 60s

Teenage pregnancy in Ireland has dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s, new figures reveal.

There were 2,043 births to young mothers under the age of 20 in the Republic during 2010, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said in its latest report.

The figure represents less than 3% of all babies born that year, which was the lowest recorded percentage since 1966.

Births to teenage mothers reached a peak in 1999 – at 6.2% of all newborns - and has continued to decrease every year since.

In its Vital Statistics report, the CSO also reveals the number of births during 2010 dipped slightly for the first time in five years.

But despite the drop – down to 75,174 babies from 75,554 the previous year - the figure remains the second highest number of births in the state since 1896, coming after years of steady increases.

Ireland continues to have the highest fertility rate of all 27 countries in the European Union, with an average birth rate of 2.06 children per woman.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of all babies born during 2010 were to mothers of non-Irish nationality. A third (33.8%) of all births were to unmarried mothers.

There were 27,961 deaths in Ireland the same year, as the death rate gradually decreases since the beginning of the century, particularly among younger ages.

While the figures show significant decreases in the number of deaths as a result of circulatory disease, it remains the biggest killer in the country, accounting for more than a third (34.3%) of all deaths.

Neoplasms, or tumours, represented 29.7% of deaths, with diseases of the respiratory system responsible for just over one in 10 (11.7%).

There was a 10% drop in the number of suicides during 2010, down to 495, with men accounting for 82% and women 18%.

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