ESRI report says Ireland has highest birth rate in EU

Ireland still has the highest birth rate in the European Union according to a new report.

The research by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) showed there were over 17,000 more births in 2010 compared to 2001.

A third of births in 2010 were to single mothers and almost a quarter were to mothers born outside Ireland.

By 2010, the average age of women giving birth was just over 31.

The ESRI report found there was a 22 per cent increase in women aged 35 and older having babies.

The number of babies delivered by caesarean section rose five per cent in the decade; while the number of breastfed babies increased by seven per cent.

The perinatal statistics also show there was a two per cent fall in the mortality rate of live and still births, compared to 2001.