Ireland's secondary school students are the most literate in the EU, according to a newly released report. 

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman has published a State of the Nation's Children report, providing a comprehensive picture of children's lives in modern-day Ireland. 

The State of the Nation's Children report presents key information about the lives of Irish children, including information and statistics on their health, behavioral and educational outcomes, and their relationship with their family and friends. 

The annual report estimates that there were 1,255,738 children living in Ireland in 2023, accounting for 23% of Ireland's population. 

The report found that 15-year-old children in Ireland achieved a mean score of 516.0 on the OECD-PISA reading literacy scale in 2022, making Irish students the best-performing in reading literacy among the 37 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

They also posted the best reading literacy scores among the 27 EU member states. 

The same age group achieved a mean score of 504 on the OECD-PISA science literary scale, up from 496 in 2018. 

In 2021, 61.7% of infants were breastfed on being discharged from hospital, up slightly from 61.3% in 2020.

In the school year 2021/22, 40.3% of primary schoolchildren were absent for more than 20 days, up substantially from the 11.1% of schoolchildren who missed 20 days or more in the previous school year. 

Similarly, 26.8% of students in post-primary school were absent for more than 20 days, up from 12.0% in 2020/2021

In 2022, 15.2% of Irish children were considered at risk of poverty, up from 13.6% in 2021. A total of 7.5% of children experienced consistent poverty in 2022, up from 5.2% in 2021. 

The report additionally stated that there were 141 births to mothers aged 15-17 in 2021, down from 181 in 2020. 

In 2022, there were 5,626 children in the care of Tusla, Ireland's Child and Family Agency, down slightly from the 5,777 in 2021. 

There were nine suicides by children aged 10-17 in 2021, down from 13 in 2020.