Number of unmarried mums on the rise

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More than 55% of babies born in the Derry area last year were to unmarried mothers, new figures reveal.

The latest research has revealed that, of 1,667 births in the Derry district in 2011, 925 (55.5%) occurred outside marriage.

The average figure for the whole of Northern Ireland is just under 42% - that’s the highest figure ever.

The new findings are contained in provisional 2011 birth statistics released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Other key findings in the survey include:

* in total, 25,300 live births were registered in Northern Ireland in 2011, a similar number to 2010.

* continuing the trend towards later childbearing, last year half of all babies were born to mothers aged 30 or more.

* the number of births to teenage mums continues to fall. Last year, there were 1,170 births to teenage mums - the lowest number in the last 35 years.

* the proportion of births to mothers born outside the UK or Ireland has been increasing and, in 2011, represented 10% of all births.

* the number of multiple births continues to increase with more than 400 sets of twins registered last year.

Dr David Marshall, from NISRA, said: “While the number of births remains similar to the 2010 figure and has been broadly stable over the last five years, there are underlying changes. The number of births to older mothers is rising and the number to younger mothers, especially teenage mothers, is falling.”