Northern Ireland

Births to teenage mothers at lowest level in 35 years

New born baby
Image caption NISRA said there is a continuing trend of mothers bearing children later in life

The number of babies born to teenage mothers in Northern Ireland has fallen to its lowest level in 35 years.

TheNorthern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)said there were 1,170 births to teenage mothers in 2011.

Half of all babies were born to mothers aged 30 or more, continuing a trend of childbearing later in life.

The number of babies born to unmarried parents last year was 42%, the highest figure ever recorded.

In total 25,300 live births were registered in Northern Ireland in 2011.

Dr Marshall from NISRA said: "While the number of births remains similar to the 2010 figure, and has been broadly stable over the last five years, there are underlying changes.

"The number of births to older mothers is rising and the number to younger mothers, especially teenage mothers, is falling."

He added that one consequence of the increasing number of older mothers was an increase in multiple births.

The births of more than 400 sets of twins were registered in Northern Ireland last year.

Ten percent of the babies were born to mothers who themselves had been born outside the UK or Ireland.

Dr Marshall said that figure represented "a marked change from a decade ago".

The hypothetical average number of children per woman has remained steady at 2.06 children.