EU stats: Irish women wait longer to have their first child

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Newly released figures show that Irish women are older than the European average age of first time mothers.

The mean age of women at birth of their first child is 29.4 in Ireland, 0.7 years older than the European average.

Statistics from Eurostat break down the ages that women have their first child into four separate age groups; under 20, 20-29, 30-39 and over 40.

Most Irish women (51.9 per cent) give birth to their children between the ages of 30 and 39. This compares to a 40.6 per cent EU average and 37.5 per cent in the UK.

Ireland has a lower rate of teen pregnancy (4.7 per cent) than other EU countries, with the average at 5.4 per cent. The percentage for women in UK is 8.2 per cent, but much higher in Romania (15.6 per cent), Bulgaria (14.7 per cent) and Hungary (11 per cent).

Ireland also has slightly higher numbers for women who give birth to their first child over the age of 40 (3.4 per cent) compared to a 2.8 per cent EU average and 2.7 per cent in the UK. Italy has the highest amount of women giving birth to their first child over 40 with 6.1 per cent.

The figures, that coincide with the International Day of Families, relate to births to first time mothers in 2013.*

The statistics also break down the amount of children a woman has when she gives birth.

A total of 47.1 per cent of births in 2013 in the EU were to first-time mothers, which compared to 37.9 per cent in Ireland and 39.2 per cent in the UK.

Ireland had one of the highest shares of births to women who already had three or more children (9 per cent), which was beaten only by Finland (10.4%), the UK (9.5%) and Romania (9.4%).

Ciara Eustace of the EU office in Dublin said: “These figures tell us that the majority of women in the EU give birth to their first child in their 20s, whereas in Ireland over 50% of women are giving birth to their first child in their 30s.

“Also, we’re above the EU average for first-time mothers in their 40s and we’re also standing out as a large family country.

“We have one of the highest proportions of women having their fourth or subsequent children.”

*Denmark’s figures correspond with 2012 statistics.


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