Page last updated at 12:52 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 13:52 UK

Births rise for fifth year in row

24,500 births were registered in Northern Ireland last year

Northern Ireland is experiencing a baby boom, with the number of births rising for the fifth year in a row.

New figures show that there were 24,500 babies born in Northern Ireland in 2007, a 5% rise on 2006.

It is the fifth annual increase in a row, and the biggest rise in the country since 1979. For the first time in more than a decade, the average number of children born per woman in NI is now more than two.

The figures have been released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

A spokesperson said: "There are a number of reasons for the recent increases, including women in their 30s having more children and more women moving to Northern Ireland to live and then having children here."

It's all a far cry from 2002, when Northern Ireland births hit a record low of 21,400.

However, the baby boom is still not quite up to the levels of the 1980s when 27,000 new-born babies were registered each year.


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