Population and Migration Estimates

New CSO release here.

18 replies on “Population and Migration Estimates”

A quick look through the migration stats is a little bit depressing, but hardly surprising. A three fold increase in the number of Irish national emigrants since 2006 is quite a jump. I would also hazard a guess that many of the emigrants who left in the last year or two are leaving for very different reasons than the people who left in 2006 and are not as likely to return to Ireland. On the bright side, there appears to be fewer females leaving the country than males, giving better odds to the lads back home!

I have wondered what the readers of this blog would think of incentivising Irish expats to invest in Irish businesses as part of an economic recovery plan? I emigrated to Canada just over five years ago and I would love to invest in an Irish business (profitable one of course) as it would be a great excuse for me to travel back to Ireland more often. I’m sure there are many other expats out there who would also be interested. Expats have experience of both countries and cultures and can provide valuable insight to Irish companies as to what products or services could succeed in that country and maybe even identify gaps in markets that Irish companies could fill. It could be argued that in this day and age with linked-in and other websites, which can connect business men from around the world, that these connections should happen anyway without any plans or incentives, and many ways it does. However, from an emigrants perspective it can also be argued that there are many reasons why you wouldn’t bother. It can become very easy for Irish emigrants to feel disillusioned with Ireland after leaving. Citizens abroad not having the right to vote, very poor support from Irish embassies when help is needed and envy or jealousy towards successful emigrants who return home. These are just some of the factors which lead to the emigrant who leaves, comes home to visit a few times not long after leaving, but then never comes home again. We all know emigrants like this.

Irish emigrants played an important role in the past. Letters sent home from the US and England containing a few dollars or pounds kept many families above the bread line. When the economy did start to pick up in the 90’s many expats did invest in Ireland, whether it was monetary investment or returning to Ireland bringing with them valuable skills and experience gained abroad. So what role if any can the current generation of young Irish emigrants play in Irelands economic recovery? I think that Ireland needs to be careful not to alienate these emigrants and encourage them to look fondly upon Ireland. They are a valuable resource and in many ways these emigrants have great influence on how Ireland is perceived abroad.

P.S. I lurk on this site from time to time to keep abreast of how the Irish economy is doing. It’s a great site and I would like to thank all the blog contributors and commentors for their valuable and educated insights.


p 69

“The population in 2005 is officially estimated at 4.13 million
and it has been increasing at an average annual rate of 1.7%
in the past five years. On the assumptions set out above, the
population will rise at a slightly faster annual pace over the
next ten years – 2.1% up to 2010 and an average 1.9%
annually from then until 2015. Thereafter, the rate of growth
will gradually and slowly subside, averaging 1.5% per year in
the five years to 2020. It will fall to 0.5% per year by 2025 and
to an annual rate of about 0.3% as 2040 approaches – part of
the slowdown reflects our assumption of zero annual net
migration after 2020. During the final ten years of the forecast
period the rate of increase subsides to less than 0.2% per
On this basis, the population will reach 5 million in 2015 and
exceed 5.3 million in 2020. It will top 6 million in 2050.”


“Chart 37 also shows the projected annual change in the
numbers in the population aged over 25 until 2020. These
projections are based on the assumption of a net inflow of
immigrants of 53,000 per annum in the years up to 2010 and
then tapering off to a net inflow of 25,000 by 2020. (We
explore the immigration issue in more detail below.) It is clear
from this Chart that the large increase in new house
completions from 30,000 per annum in 1995 to almost 81,000
per annum in 2005 was driven by the acceleration of the
growth in the over-25 population from just above 30,000 per
annum to above 80,000 per annum currently. Since the baby
boom in Ireland peaked in 1980, the numbers in the over-25
age group will grow more slowly from here but, by 2010, the
pace will still be above 70,000 per annum, if net immigration
matches our assumptions. The projected slowing in the rate of
growth of the over-25s from around this year implies that an
increasing rate of immigration would be required to maintain
the recent pace of housebuilding.
Thus, immigration will be an increasingly important variable
determining the demand for housing from here.”

The ghost estates are for all the ghost migrants who never turned up

The smallest net increase since the decrease in 1990. One would have to say that looking at the trends we’re likely to see a net decrease in population next year.

The ghost estates are for all the ghost migrants who never turned up

The ghost estates are for all the builder and developers who took the money and ran.

I might be very mistaken, but I think there is a big error in all the cso figures.
What’s the current vacancy rate ?
A year & a half after the property crash it was claimed there were over three hundred thousand vacant residential properties, another party contradicted this and said that there was only seventy thousand.

But in the decade up to that point, the number of homes in the country doubled.
The demographic of immigrants (mostly 20-35 yr.olds ?) certainly means that they will have occupied the housing-stock at a different ratio (negilable middle-aged & elderly – more one-couple per one-household than equal number of Irish-born pop.), but there was/is a large number of shared tenancies which must have balanced this.

The point being, residences increased from a million to 1.9 million.
There is either a large unnaccounted population or we really do have at least a few hundred thousand vacant properties.

Another note, the quantities of planned properties and rezoned lands for housing even up to recently would have catered for multiples of the projected population growth – (there was several hundred thousand acres of rezonings across the country). There certainly were conferences with semi-officials in attendence projecting a 10 million population by 2030 before the crash.

The gross emigration figure 87,100 exceeded the number of births 74,000.

The net emigration figure 34,400 exceeded the number of deaths 29,200.

The gross immigration figure of 52,700 is remarkable.

Assuming the estimates are reliable.

@ Kilroyeozere
Was offered a job in Canada too. Couldnt take it up for family reasons. Great country

Ok – ice noticed on this site that when the writings on the wall most people just look at another wall. The Euro as we know it is coming to an end. It’s time to begin working on this. We can keep it but only after debt write downs etc but believe me it’s over.


Enclosed is a relevant link re vacant housing in the state from the census. From the link:

“This morning’s publication confirms that we still have a significant problem nationally with 289,451 vacant homes of which 59,395 are classified as “holiday homes”. This compares with 49,789 holiday homes recorded in 2006 which is interesting given the colossal economic contraction that occurred between 2008-2011 – you might have thought that holiday homes would have been amongst the first victims of the recession though perhaps the increase is driven by foreign purchases.

The overall level of vacant housing including holiday homes is put at 14.5% – 289,451 as a percentage of 2m total dwellings – which is double that of our neighbours in Northern Ireland. There were 266,331 vacant homes – including holiday homes – in the State at the time of the last Census in 2006, so the number of vacant homes has increased but because the number of homes overall has also increased proportionately more, the vacancy rate has actually dropped by 0.5% from 15% to 14.5%.

So we have 230,056 vacant homes which are not holiday homes. This is out of a total housing stock of 2m homes. Any country will have a “normal” level of vacant homes, be they second homes or vacant homes for sale. The most recent estimate from Ireland’s “National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis” that I have seen, is that we still have an overhang of vacant property of 80-100,000 homes nationally and by “overhang”, this means a vacancy level above the long term normal vacancy level.. And on a national basis, this overhang is likely to be a drag on any house price recovery, and is likely to be a factor in future price declines. It should be said that although the national picture still shows an extraordinary level of vacancies, the picture at a county level (shown below) is less clear. We see thatDublin and surrounding counties have vacancy levels of 5-10% whereas much of Connacht andUlster have vacancy levels of 15-22%. And although the report doesn’t zoom in further to locations within each county, it stands to reason that there will be variations which may mean there is little if any overhang in some specific locations within counties.



Just for the record I re-read your contibution a couple of times but could not find a single word I’d disagree with! Bravo!

I believe one or two of the organisers of this site have my email address, I hereby authorise them to give it to you and would love to hear from directly.

Bon courage.

@ Paul Quigley


@ Eureka

Canada, like any other country, has it’s pros and cons. You’re right though, all in all it’s a great country. I consider myself lucky to live here.

@ Richard Fedigan

I haven’t received any email from the site organisers, but if they would be kind enough to send on your email address I’d be delighted to get in touch.

@ all

Just to expand a little on what I meant when I was talking about expats contributing to the Irish economy, here is an idea that’s been bouncing around my head since I wrote the post above. I think that the days of letters from abroad containing a few dollars are gone and we should look at modern day alternatives in which Irish emigrants can help the Irish economy. I’ll preface this idea by saying that I haven’t run this by anybody and there may be good reasons as to why this may not work that haven’t occurred to me.

What if you there was a way for Irish businesses and expats to form a network? Have somebody stand at the entrance to airport security in Dublin. Get them to ask each traveler if they are an Irish citizen, then ask if the live abroad. If both answers are yes, then give them a form which asks a few simple questions: would you be willing to be contacted by an Irish company seeking to expand it’s markets abroad? What is your occupation? How long have you lived in your current city? etc. At the same time let the expat know that any company who makes a sale where they live, as a result of their work, will be rewarded (% of the sale). Create a database with all of the information gathered and offer it to small and medium sized Irish companies who could cross reference the database by occupation or geographical area. These companies now have a risk free way of exploring new markets, no employee wages, travel costs or accommodation expenses to research new markets and you essentially have a man (or woman) on the ground in that area whenever needed. For the expat, he or she may risk losing some free time, however it presents an opportunity for them to make some extra dough and maybe even start their own business as a supplier. Any young expat go getter would jump at the chance to give it a go.

I don’t offer this as a solution to all of Irelands problems, rather a small piece of the puzzle to get thing going again.

‘may be good reasons as to why this may not work that haven’t occurred to me.’

Not so much that it might not work as that various state and semi-state entities/’Diaspora’ initiatives claim to be doing it already. So that’s all right then!

Anyway, love the enthusiasm and have asked a moderator to give you my details.

@ Richard

In my haste I had forgotten to consider the fact that there are probably government bodies tasked with this objective. Due to naivety on my own part, I had assumed that as an emigrant I would have been contacted by, or at least made aware of, such groups.

La dernière fois, j’ai oublié de te remercier pour m’avoir donné les mots d’encouragement. Le parcours de vie d’un émigrant peut être solitaire est c’est bon d’être encouragé par un autre émigrant Irlandais.

J’habite près de la rivière Outaouais et de l’autre côté est la belle province…Québec! C’est toujours plus facile d’apprendre une autre langue quand c’est la première langue de ta copine!

J’attends encore pour le couriel du ‘moderator’…


Girlfriends have a lot to answer for.

Interesting post – thanks. Couldn’t this networking be done somewhere like Linkedin.com

@PR Guy

Vu le retard ( ou la réticence) de la part de nos chers modérateurs/animateurs, voici mon mél: rc.fedigan@gmail.com ( pas de grand secret!).

Of course the networking could be done through existing social media, government and semi-government agencies (as well as through an enhanced Irish economy.ie networking facility if the will existed!) but I get the impression that there’s latent demand out here for something different!

@PR Guy

I agree with Richard. A multi-pronged approach is needed along with some fresh ideas for the new generation of emigrant. Relying on certain social media will not reach many expats (who, like me, may becoming increasingly jaded of social media platforms). Which is the reason I was proposing to actually intercept people leaving the country at the airport (or in the case of first time emigrants before they get to the airport), thereby accessing all emigrants. They don’t have to commit to helping Irish companies, but even by giving their address and email address would create a very valuable database. As far as I am aware the Irish government have no idea where I live or what I do (okay, if they really wanted to find out they probably could, but it would be a time consuming process and probably expensive, like contacting the Canadian government, not feasible to do for all expats). I’d gladly give them this information if they asked. I’m amazed that, if I leave the company I work for I must do an exit interview and be available for indefinite period after I leave, to attend any trial held over a project I participated in. In other words I must leave the company must always have my contact information. Yet I can leave Ireland without ever giving this information to the government, all because nobody bothers to ask for it.

By the way, if they ever did create a database like this I would advocate for a government department to email it’s expats every now and again. With a bit of help from a good PR Guy like yourself they may be able to give expats the impression that they still care (but not too much…we don’t want to start looking for the right to vote!). Maybe it could arrest the sentiment of “Ireland can forget about its expats, but its expats will never forget about Ireland”.

Sorry about the delay in responding, time difference and long day at work (on the road)…


There is enormous potential energy in this topic provided we come at it from the human capital enhancement direction rather than from the automatic assumption that ’emigration’ is a ‘BAD THING’, that every Irish person working or studying outside Ireland is an ’emigrant’, that every non-Irish person working in Ireland is an ‘immigrant’, or indeed that ’emigrants’ or immigrants” best interests and potential are best served by ‘home’ or ‘host’ governments.

Internationally mobile human capital is an economic and cultural FACT, growing in its economic and cultural impact and the phenomenon has enormous upside potential for ‘home’ and ‘host’ countries alike.

Probably unlikely to be fully explored here and/or until ‘we’ radically overhaul ‘our’ attitudes toward ’emigration’, ‘immigration’, ’emigrants’ and ‘immigrants’.

Meanwhile, those ‘doing it’ with a positive attitude will probably be as successful as they’ve always been!

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