Births out of Wedlock in the Irish State 1922 - 1988 - Crunching the Numbers

Joined
Sep 4, 2018
Messages
232
Likes
328
Points
63
#1
Hi this is my first thread so just to say you may have viewed this already over on the Other Site. I spent some time putting these stats together and to the best of my knowledge they are accurate. We have had in the last few years quite a bit of controversy over how we treated unmarried mothers in this State in the past.

While in many cases women were made outcasts from their families and indeed Society if one examines the figures bearing in mind circa 10,000 women went to the Magdalenes and some 35,000 were in a Mother & Baby Home then it is curious that the majority of women who gave birth outside of marriage were never in either of these places.

Anyway here are the figures I compiled with Source given.

Of course if anyone spots any discrepancies please let me know and I will check it out.

Births out of Wedlock in the Irish State 1922 - 1988 - Crunching the Numbers

Annual Reports on Marriages, Births and Deaths in Ireland from 1864 to 2000 - CSO - Central Statistics Office

Births out of wedlock:
1922: 1,520 or 2.6%
1923: 1,624 or 2.6%
1924: 1,677 or 2.6%
1925: 1,662 or 2.7%
1926: 1,716 or 2.8%
1927: 1,758 or 2.9%
1928: 1,788 or 1.68%
1929: 1,853 or 3.18%
BOW 13, 598

1930: 1,863 or 3.2%
1931: 1,925 or 3.37%
1932: 1,819 or 3.23%
1933: 2,004 or 3.49%
1934: 2,030 or 3.51%
1935: 1,946 or 3.34%
1936: 1,908 or 3.28%
1937: 1,813 or 3.21%
1938: 1,878 or 3.3%
1939: 1,781 or 3.18%
BOW 18,967

1940: 1,824 or 3.22%
1941: 1,975 or 3.48%
1942: 2,419 or 3.66%
1943: 2,448 or 3.8%
1944: 2,567 or 3.92%
1945: 2,626 or 3.9%
1946: 2,642 or 3.9%
1947: 2,348 or 3.4%
1948: 2,165 or 3.3%
1949: 2,006 or 3.1%
BOW 23,020

1950: 1,627 or 2.6%
1951: 1,588 or 2.5%
1952: 1,619 or 2.5%
1953: 1,340 or 2.1%
1954: 1,310 or 2.1%
1955: 1,234 or 2%
1956: 1,173 or 1.9%
1957: 1,032 or 1.7%
1958: 976 or 1.6%
1959: 959 or 1.59%
BOW 12,858

1960: 968 or 1.59%
1961: 975 or 1.63%
1962: 1,111 or 1.8%
1963: 1,157 or 1.83%
1964: 1,292 or 2.02%
1965: 1,403 or 2.21%
1966: 1,436 or 2.31%
1967: 1,540 or 2.51%
1968: 1,558 or 2.55%
1969: 1,642 or 2.61%
BOW 13,082

1970: 1,709 or ?
1971: 1,842 or 2.73%
1972: 2,005 or 2.93%
1973: 2,167 or 3.15%
1974: 2,309 or 3.35%
1975: 2,515 or 3.74%
1976: 2,545 or 2.76%
1977: 2,879 or 4.18%
1978: 3,003 or 4.27%
1979: 3,337 or 4.6%
BOW 24,311

1980: 3,723 or 5.03%
1981: 3,914 or 5.42%
1982: 4,358 or 6.2%
1983: 4,552 or 6.8%
1984: 5,116 or 8%
1985: 5,282 or 8.5%
1986: 5,946 or 9.6%
1987: 6,347 or 10.9%
1988: 6,438 or 11.9% x .5 = 3,219
BOW 42,457

1920s 13,598
1930s 18,967
1940s 23,020
1950s 12,858
1960s 13,082
1970s 24,311
1980s 42,457
TOTAL 148,293
 
Last edited:

Tadhg Gaelach

Donator
Premium Account
Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
29,119
Likes
27,357
Points
313
#4
Those figures really put things into perspective. If we were to believe the ISIS Times and RTÉ, you think priests and nuns were going round kidnapping any unmarried mother and forcing her and her baby into slavery for the profit of the Church. When the reality is that the only social safety net that existed in the Irish Free State was the Church.
 

wasted years

Donator
Premium Account
Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
1,277
Likes
1,992
Points
163
#5
Those figures really put things into perspective. If we were to believe the ISIS Times and RTÉ, you think priests and nuns were going round kidnapping any unmarried mother and forcing her and her baby into slavery for the profit of the Church. When the reality is that the only social safety net that existed in the Irish Free State was the Church.
so there was no basic welfare before 1973 and basically the church was doing what it could for some of these women ?
 

wasted years

Donator
Premium Account
Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2016
Messages
1,277
Likes
1,992
Points
163
#6
Well there was free social welfare from 1973 and it just grew from there

It wasn't such a Big Deal anymore
what about the 90s and noughties?
any stats for them.
it's interesting as the rot in Irish society seems to have coincided with a rising number in the births out of wedlock.
 

Tadhg Gaelach

Donator
Premium Account
Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
29,119
Likes
27,357
Points
313
#7
so there was no basic welfare before 1973 and basically the church was doing what it could for some of these women ?

There was some level of social welfare, but I'd say it would have been impossible for a young single pregnant mother to get any social welfare.
 

Tadhg Gaelach

Donator
Premium Account
Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
29,119
Likes
27,357
Points
313
#10
what about the 90s and noughties?
any stats for them.
it's interesting as the rot in Irish society seems to have coincided with a rising number in the births out of wedlock.

I'd say the collapse in sexual discipline was a symptom of the general collapse in Western society, rather than being the cause of it.
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2015
Messages
855
Likes
1,825
Points
143
#12
Anecdotally, from stories told by my father, there seemed to be quite a lot of births outside marriage. He recounted quite a large number of girls who became pregnant out of wedlock. He told of one young man who got a girl pregnant,. He had to marry her and his parents gave him some money so they could go to England. Shortly afterwards, a priest came to the door with another girl he allegedly made pregnant, but it was too late for her.

Interestingly a contemporary of mt father died some years ago. At her funeral, a woman was there who was revealed to be her daughter. Nobody had ever known.
 
Top Bottom