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Irish have longest marriages and second highest birth-rate in Europe

Irish people enjoy – or endure – some of the longest marriages and working weeks in Europe.

The annual review of life in the Republic also confirms its reputation as a nation of baby-makers and emigrants.

Measuring Ireland’s Progress uses a range of data on health, economics, society, the environment and education to paint a picture of how the country fares against EU counterparts, and what we need to know about ourselves.

Unsurprisingly, we keep out-breeding most of the continent with a birth-rate second only to the traditionally more romantic French.

The fertility rate of 1.96 in 2013 is back to what it was in 2003 and a fall off from 2.06, when Ireland’s baby boom appeared to peak at the height of the recession.

Even with a massive 81,900 people leaving the country in 2014, the country still had the third fastest growing population in Europe over the previous 10 years.

The report, compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), also examined the c ost of living – a bone of contention in Ireland when prices are compared with our neighbours in Europe.

This report warned that we were paying the fourth highest prices for goods and services in 2014, behind only Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The CSO said prices in Ireland were on the whole 22.3% above the EU average.

Despite the intense recession and the cost of living, Ireland managed to maintain those at risk of poverty below the EU average.

According to the report the rate was 14.1% in 2013 compared to 16.6% across Europe.

But the following year the research showed 8% of the population were in consistent poverty – unable to afford heat, presents, daily meals or new shoes or clothes.

Most worryingly, more than one in ten young people under 18 were suffering such deprivation in 2014.

On the whole, however, the report suggested that people in Ireland enjoy some of the healthiest lives.

A woman, with a life expectancy of 83.1, can also expect to spend 68 of those years in good health, while a man, who can expect to live to 79, can also look forward to 65.8 years with no major health scares.

Elsewhere, the figures also indicate a well-educated and hard-working nation.

The number of 25-34-year-olds who have been to college or university is the fourth highest in the EU – and they put it to use.

The report noted that even though we clock long hours, the productivity per hour was the fourth highest in Europe, behind Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The study confirmed Irish marriages last long with the divorce rate the lowest on record, 0.6 per 1,000 people.

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The study recorded a 40% increase in reported sexual offences between 2009 and 2014, which may in part be explained by the inquiries into historical abuse in the Catholic Church.

On the environment, Ireland moved to recover more than half of the waste it produces by 2012, up from under a quarter in 2003.

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