The CSO today released the Vital Statistics Annual 2009 report and the Marriages report for 2009.

These reports give a breakdown of the births and deaths that occurred in 2009 and the marriages registered in 2009.

There were 75,554 children born in Ireland during 2009. This was the highest number of births recorded since 1891, when there were 76,877 children born in the 26 counties.

There were 28,380 deaths in Ireland in 2009, while the number of marriages registered was 21,627.

The number of births in 2009 marked the fourth consecutive year of annual increases.

The number of births in 2009 was up by 381 births, or 0.5%, from 2008, and up 21,630, 40.1%, since 1999.

The birth rate in 2009 was 16.9 per 1,000 of the population compared with 17.0 in 2008 and 14.4 in 1999.

The CSO says the average number of children per woman, was 2.10 in 2009, the same rate as in 2008.

It said this is the fertility rate that must be maintained to replace the population in the absence of migration.

Ireland continues to have the highest fertility rate of the 27 EU member states.

In 2009, there were 25,406 babies born to women aged 30 to 34, the highest number of all age groups.

Just over 23% of births in 2009 were to mothers of non-Irish nationality. The number of births outside marriage that occurred in 2009 was 25,252, 33.4% of all births.

There were 28,380 deaths in Ireland in 2009, of which 14,727 were males and 13,653 were females.

This is equivalent to a rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 of the total population, the same rate as in 2008.

The crude death rate per 1,000 of population has shown a gradual downward trend since the beginning of the century with the most striking long-term falls occurring in the death rates at younger ages.

Diseases of the circulatory system accounted for 33.5% of deaths, neoplasms 30.0%, and diseases of the respiratory system 12.7%.

Ranked in order, the other seven leading causes of death were external causes of injury and poisoning, diseases of the digestive system, diseases of the nervous system, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, diseases of the genitourinary system, mental and behavioural disorders, and infectious and parasitic diseases.

There were 552 suicides recorded in 2009, an increase of 46, 9%, on the number of suicides recorded in 2008.

Males represented 80% of suicides, while females represented 20%.

During 2009 the number of deaths of infants under one year was 247 compared with 284 in 2008. The corresponding rate decreased from 3.8 to 3.3 per 1,000 live births.

Slight increase in age of bridegrooms

The average age of grooms in 2009 was 34 years, 0.2 years more than the average age in 2008.

In the past 50 years, the average age of grooms has decreased from 31.1 years in 1959 to a low of 26.2 years in 1977 and has increased to a high of 34.0 years in 2009.

A similar trend is evident for brides, with the average age decreasing from 27.1 in 1959 to 24.0 in 1977. It has increased to a high of 31.8 in 2009.

The number of marriages registered in 2009 was 21,627, which equates to a crude marriage rate of 4.8 per 1,000 of the population.

Ireland was ranked 11th in the EU 27, and was higher than the European average of 4.5.

There were 6,214 civil marriages registered in 2009, an increase of 17% on the number of civil marriages in 2008.

The 2009 figure accounted for just under 29% of all marriages in that year.

The number of Roman Catholic marriage ceremonies was 14,624 in 2009 and accounted for 68% of all marriages in the year.

August was the most popular month for marriage in 2009, when 13% of marriages occurred.

Friday and Saturday were the most popular days of the week to get married with 70% of marriages occurring on those days.