Older mothers and older spouses as NI’s population climbs towards 1.9m

A pregnant woman
A pregnant woman

Northern Ireland’s latest batch of pregnancy statistics shows the lowest rate of teenage pregnancies on record.

2017 saw the number of births to teenage mothers fall to 692 – less than half the number that was recorded a decade previously (1,405) and 65% fewer than three decades ago (2,008).

The statistics are from the 96th Annual Report of the Registrar General for Northern Ireland, and are published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)

The average age of first-time mums has continued to increase, up from 25 years in 1987 to 28.7 years in 2017.

The average age of all mums has similarly risen, from 27.6 years to 30.8 years over the last three decades.

Of the 23,075 births registered in 2017, 23% were to mums aged 35 and over.

The report also looked at marriage, too.

Both men and women are waiting on average six years longer to tie the knot compared to 30 years ago, with the average ages of first-time brides and grooms now being 30 and 32 years respectively, up from 24 years for brides and 26 years for grooms in 1987.

There were 2,089 divorces and 13 civil partnership dissolutions granted in 2017, with non‑cohabitation remaining the most frequently recorded reason for separation.

The NISRA report also examines life expectancy, and found cancer continued to be the leading cause of death in 2017, accounting for 28% of all deaths; 2,356 men and 2,104 women died from cancer in 2017.

In terms of population change, the estimated population of Northern Ireland rose by 8,700 people to reach 1.871 million in the year ending 30 June 2017.

Projections indicate that the population of Northern Ireland will reach two million people by mid-2040, with the number of people aged 65 and over projected to overtake children by mid-2028.