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

Catalpast

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OK folks I decided to do a bit of online Research on all the controversy there is on the way we treated unmarried mothers in the Past

The Historian in me made me look and see what I could find & I came across this brilliant link here

Annual Reports on Marriages, Births and Deaths in Ireland from 1864 to 2000
https://www.cso.ie/en/statistics/birthsdeathsandmarriages/archive/annualreportsonmarriagesbirthsanddeathsinirelandfrom1864to2000/

I decided to extract all the information on Illegitimate Births (as they were then called) and come up with the totals for each decade that the State has been in existence until the abolition of the status of illegitimacy on 14 June 1988

I hope these figures help clarify the raw statistical data and will allow further discussion to take place in a somewhat more analytical manner than heretofore.

If anyone spots any errors please tell me and I will endeavour to correct them

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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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

* I divided the annual figure in two to reflect the fact that illegitimacy in birth ceased in June 1988

TOTAL 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
 


Lumpy Talbot

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I have the Cattlepriest in my 'ignore' file for a good long while now but I will amuse myself by taking a guess that the inspiration for this thread is yet another basis for a good oul' catholic whine somewhere along the line.
 

Seán E. Ryan

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OK folks I decided to do a bit of online Research on all the controversy there is on the way we treated unmarried mothers in the Past

The Historian in me made me look and see what I could find & I came across this brilliant link here

Annual Reports on Marriages, Births and Deaths in Ireland from 1864 to 2000
https://www.cso.ie/en/statistics/birthsdeathsandmarriages/archive/annualreportsonmarriagesbirthsanddeathsinirelandfrom1864to2000/

I decided to extract all the information on Illegitimate Births (as they were then called) and come up with the totals for each decade that the State has been in existence until the abolition of the status of illegitimacy on 14 June 1988

I hope these figures help clarify the raw statistical data and will allow further discussion to take place in a somewhat more analytical manner than heretofore.

If anyone spots any errors please tell me and I will endeavour to correct them

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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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%

TOTAL 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

* I divided the annual figure in two to reflect the fact that illegitimacy in birth ceased in June 1988

TOTAL 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
Are you suggesting that the massive deficit in the fifties and sixties that only started to recover during the seventies can be explained by the church selling babies abroad?
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Probably distorted by the African donations in schools on that continent to help the poor uneducated white babies of Ireland at the time:)
 

Catalpast

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Well I think one thing is clear once you start looking at the statistics:

The vast majority of women who had a child out of wedlock

-were never in a Magdalene Laundry....
 

Brenny

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Just wondering about how much we can trust the figures. Are adopted kids included amongst the 'out of wedlock' births? I'd imagine that quite a few of the adopted kids in the 50s were counted as 'legitimate' births. I was adopted in the late 70s at three months of age; am I counted as 'illegitimate?' Also, there was quite a few illegitimate conceptions in the 40s and 50s who were legitimate births thanks to a shotgun and an out-of-town church (my Dad was one of these).

People were having unsanctioned sex throughout the ages, this will continue despite any attempts to force us all to fill out consent forms before we shag each other.
 

GabhaDubh

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Anyone have the capability to put these numbers into graph form?
 

Catalpast

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Just wondering about how much we can trust the figures. Are adopted kids included amongst the 'out of wedlock' births? I'd imagine that quite a few of the adopted kids in the 50s were counted as 'legitimate' births. I was adopted in the late 70s at three months of age; am I counted as 'illegitimate?' Also, there was quite a few illegitimate conceptions in the 40s and 50s who were legitimate births thanks to a shotgun and an out-of-town church (my Dad was one of these).

People were having unsanctioned sex throughout the ages, this will continue despite any attempts to force us all to fill out consent forms before we shag each other.
Interesting points


I would say a lot adopted kids were born out of wedlock


- and I think its taken as given that there were quite a number of 'shotgun weddings' too


- indeed I remember being at one some years ago now....


But I think the statistics are reliable enough


Of course no set of statistics on this scale are going to be 100%


- but I think an omissions would be very small.
 

hollandia

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Well I think one thing is clear once you start looking at the statistics:

The vast majority of women who had a child out of wedlock

-were never in a Magdalene Laundry....
Nothing of the sort is clear until you publish the numbers of women placed in these laundries and mother and baby homes by year since 1922.

Secondly even back in the twenties people were not universally in hock to the church. There's a story in my family of an approach being made to "take care of the child". Let's just say the nuns didn't darken that particular door again.
 
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Lumpy Talbot

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Ah. I see Cattlepriest has revealed his reason for the 'research'. It IS in fact another attempt at a catholic whinge.:)
 

Seán E. Ryan

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Well I think one thing is clear once you start looking at the statistics:

The vast majority of women who had a child out of wedlock

-were never in a Magdalene Laundry....
You're some historian.

How do you arrive at that point. The soon to be Magdalens might have been pumping them out non stop before the Church put manners on them. Or those who weren't caught might have gone into overdrive, to make hay while the sun was shining.

You might elaborate on how you come to your conclusion. Better still you might arrive at whatever point it is that you think your 'discovery' makes?

Is this a 'the Church wasn't so bad if you compare them to the antichrist' type argument?
 

Brenny

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Well I think one thing is clear once you start looking at the statistics:

The vast majority of women who had a child out of wedlock

-were never in a Magdalene Laundry....
True. Too much recent examination of 20th century Ireland has focused on what we were supposedly not allowed to do rather than try discover what we were actually doing. You'll always here two different versions of 20th century Ireland from people who lived through it. My mother was adamant that there were absolutely no gay people in 1950s Ireland whereas her brother told me that there was a well known gay cross-dresser living on their street when they were young. He/she would leave the house alternatively as Mark or Mary depending on what took his/her fancy. A lot of people knew about this but some people were blissfully unaware. He saluted one old woman on the street one day when he was dressed as 'Mary', the old woman told MAry that she didn't know who she was so Mark had to explain who he was and why he was wearing the dress. The old woman burst into tears on in the middle of the city street, just shocked that something like this could exist on her street.

Other people, were adamant that no girl had sex before marriage unless they were somehow deranged whereas other people will tell that there was plenty of casual sex and extra-marital sex back then. It's widely acknowledged that the suicide figures were massaged in the 50s and it wouldn't surprise me if the illegitimate births were similarly altered.
 

Dame_Enda

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That seems very low compared to births outside wedlock today (I read somewhere years that that in Limerick city its more like one in three). Not that surprising though given single mothers were treated as criminals by the State in the Magdalene era. The Local Government Act 1923 criminalised out-of-wedlock mothers according to "No country for Women" on RTE. http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/2013Magdalen-P I Chapter 5 Legislation (PDF - 380KB).pdf/Files/2013Magdalen-P I Chapter 5 Legislation (PDF - 380KB).pdf
 
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Emily Davison

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I have the Cattlepriest in my 'ignore' file for a good long while now but I will amuse myself by taking a guess that the inspiration for this thread is yet another basis for a good oul' catholic whine somewhere along the line.
He got to it at post 8.
 


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