Ireland has the fourth highest number of childless women over 45 out of all the OECD countries, with nearly one in five Irish women past their childbearing years having no children.
The Irish Independent reports that according to a new OECD study, Italy has the highest rate of childlessness at 24%, Austria is second with 21.1%, and England and Wales are third at 20.5. The top five is rounded off by the Netherlands, which has a rate just lower than Irelands, with 18.3% of women over 45 being childless.
According to The Irish Independent, the OECD claims that one reason for the high rate of childlessness among Irish women aged over 45 is a lack of affordable childcare here which deters them from having children.
The study comes as the average number of children per family continues to fall, and the average age of first childbirth rises. The 2011 Census found that the average number of children per family was just below 1.4, down from 2.0 in 1991, and according to the OECD the average age of women giving birth to their first child had increased from 27.3 in 1995 to 28.