Here at MummyPages.ie, Ireland’s largest community of mums, we have identified a significant link between the number of births in Republic of Ireland and the highs and lows of the economy.
Figures obtained from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal a recurring trend that links the State’s fluctuating birth rate with the country's economic performance, spanning the last four decades.
The 1980s can be described as one of the bleakest periods in the State’s history, with high taxation and unemployment, as well as mass emigration. This decline in the economy is linked to a rise in births with 1980 witnessing one of the highest birth rates ever recorded in the Republic, with 74,064 children born. This is comparable only to the Republic’s next peak recession year, which occurred more recently in 2009 and recorded 75,554 babies born.
When the State’s economy experiences turbulence, the birth rate increases and when it shows signs of recovery, the birth rate slows down - and now this trend looks like it is about to turn full circle again.
This current cycle started with the Celtic Tiger years in the mid 90s, when the lowest ever birth rate recorded this century was just 48,255. The start of the downturn in 2007 is then signified by a marked increase in births with 71,389 babies born, and continues to escalate throughout the recession to the highest figures recorded since 1891 with 75,554 births in 2009 – the peak of the recession.
Last year, the CSO announced that the Republic of Ireland was officially out of the recession. And true to form, history looks like it is now repeating itself as the birth rate starts to slow down again in line with the improving economic outlook.
Commenting on the trend, Laura Haugh, our Mum in Residence, says: “The fluctuating trends in births seem to be extrinsically linked to the State’s economic performance with high increases in birth rates recorded during difficult economic periods and lower numbers of births evident during periods of economic recovery and growth. We expect this trend to continue with the Republic of Ireland’s birth rate set to continue to decrease and stabilise to pre-boom time figures.”
“Another factor contributing to the State’s diminishing birth rate is the mass emigration of young people. In the last five years, over 150,000 people aged between 18-to 40-year-olds have emigrated in search of better job opportunities. Many Irish emigrants in recent years decided to start their families abroad instead of waiting for the economy to improve back home.”
“If our young expatriates decide to return home, enticed by the green shoots of economic recovery, this could trigger a mini ‘child boom’ rather than a ‘baby boom’ as they return with a young family in tow.”
“ Interestingly, many female graduates who up until recently may have travelled abroad for decent employment prospects are now determined to invest time in building a career and putting children on the long finger. Our Irish community of mums, cite the same thinking with many choosing to prioritise new job opportunities over adding to their existing family”
“Unfortunately, a lack of flexibility towards working mothers in the Republic of Ireland combined with the lack of Government child care tax breaks or subsidies, means that many women must choose having a career over adding to their family. This is especially disappointing for a country in the developed world where it is recognised that women play a valuable role in successful companies.”
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