Number of NI teen mums falls to record low but age of brides and grooms soars compared to 1991

The age at which people marry and have children is getting older in Northern Ireland, a report shows.

Teenage pregnancy rates are also at an all-time low.

Figures released by the Registrar General of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) show a sharp increase in illegitimate births.

Today’s report shows that the average age of brides and grooms has increased from 26.5 to 33.4 and from 28.6 to 35.4 in 1991, respectively.

It also shows 7,962 marriages were registered here last year, with over half of the weddings taking place between July and September – possibly reflecting the easing of Covid restrictions.

There were 396 same-sex marriages and 207 conversions from registered partnerships, with July proving to be the most popular month for all marriages.

August 28 was the busiest day for weddings with 107 couples tying the knot that day.

“In 2021, 37 registered partnerships were registered (up from 43 in 2020), of which three were male partnerships and six were female partnerships, but the majority, 28, were opposite-sex partnerships,” the report revealed.

“In 2021, 2,040 divorces were granted.

This was an increase from the previous year (1,507) but 30% down from the peak of 2,913 in 2007.

The number of teenage mothers fell to a record low of 474, accounting for 2.1% of the total of 22,071 births registered in 2021.

The ongoing downward trend means that the number of teenage mothers is less than half what it was ten years ago and almost 75% less than 30 years ago.

“The median age of primiparae has continued to rise, from 25.5 years in 1991 to 29.2 years in 2021,” the report said.

“The median age of all mothers has similarly increased from 27.9 to 31.2 years over the past three decades.”

Just over 47% of all 22,071 babies born in the past year (11,340 men and 10,731 women) were born outside of marriage or civil partnership.

That’s a sharp increase from 19% three decades ago.

The stillbirth rate rose from three in 1,000 in 2020 to four in 1,000 last year, when the total was 89.

In the meantime, 17,558 deaths have been registered here, slightly fewer than in the previous year with 17,614 deaths. However, it was 21% more than in 2001.

Cancer remains the leading cause of death, accounting for just over 26% of all deaths, and the leading cause for both sexes.

Circulatory diseases, such as heart and cerebrovascular disease, were the second leading cause for both men and women, accounting for just over 21% of deaths.

“The final figures show that for the first time, Covid-19 has overtaken respiratory disease as the third leading cause of death, accounting for 10.5% (1,850) of all deaths recorded in 2021, with over a third (36.5%) being attributed to people 85 years and older,” the report says.

“Tragically, there were 237 recorded deaths from suicide (including deaths from self-inflicted injuries and events of undetermined intent) in Northern Ireland in 2021, compared with 219 in 2020.

“Males accounted for three quarters of all deaths from self-inflicted injuries (176).”

The figures come as the government prepares to release the results of the 2021 census, which will shed more light on current trends in Northern Ireland’s population, which now stands at 1.903 million people. Number of NI teen mums falls to record low but age of brides and grooms soars compared to 1991

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