Ireland’s Population Tops Five Million

31 Aug 2021 | 11.46 am

Ireland’s Population Tops Five Million

77% increase since 1961

31 Aug 2021 | 11.46 am

Preliminary data from the Central Statistics Office for early 2021 show Ireland’s population currently stands at 5.011 million.

The population is now over 5 million for the first time in 170 years (census 1851 5.1 million) and also represents an increase of 2.19 million or 77% on the low-point recorded in the census of 1961.

“This outcome reflects not only Ireland’s exceptional pace of increase in recent years but also the unique historical experience,” observed Austin Hughes, economist with KBC Bank.

The annual change in population in the year to April 2021 was 34,000. The +0.7% increase is the smallest gain since 2014 and notably lower than 56,000 (+1.1%) in the year to April 2020.

According to Hughes, the slowdown in the past year can be significantly attributed to pandemic-related restrictions on international travel.

“This suggests scope for some compensating rebound in pace of population increase through the next couple of years,” he added. “In turn this suggests demographic factors look set to remain an important source of both support and pressure for the Irish economy for some time to come.”

CSO data shows there was a sharp fall-off in net migration. Net inward migration was markedly lower at just 11,000 compared with 29,000 in 2020.

While the ‘natural’ increase (births less deaths) also slowed marginally to 23,000 from 27,000, this was largely due to  the persistence of a downward trend in births rather than a marked change in the death rate.

Despite all the fuss about the Covid pandemic, the number of deaths rose only modestly from just over 31,000 to just under 32,000 .

According to Eurostat, only seven of the EU 27 member states recorded more births than deaths in the past year and Ireland had the fastest natural increase among that group.

 

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