Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Emigration rises to record high

A total of 46,500 Irish people emigrated in the year to April, a rise of 16 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The number of Irish people emigrating rose to 46,500 last year, the highest level since the recession began. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Thu, Sep 27, 2012, 13:17

   

CIARA KENNY

The number of Irish people emigrating rose to 46,500 last year, the highest level since the recession began. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

A total of 46,500 Irish people emigrated in the year to April, a rise of 16 per cent on the previous 12 months.

Migration figures published by the Central Statistics Office today show 87,100 people of all nationalities left Ireland in the period, up from 80,600 the previous year.

Irish nationals accounted for 53 per cent of the total.

The number of Irish women emigrating rose from 17,500 to 20,600, while the number of Irish men leaving rose from 24,500 to 26,000.

Emigration among foreign nationals increased for the third year in a row to 40,600. Net outward migration increased from 27,400 to 34,400.

The number of immigrants fell slightly from 53,300 to 52,700 over the same period.

The number of Irish people returning to live in Ireland rose for the third year in a row to 20,600. The figure is still much lower than 2007, when 30,700 Irish people came back.

Just 2,200 people from the UK moved to Ireland in the period, while 17,600 people arrived from EU countries and 12,400 from the rest of the world.

People aged between 25 and 44 accounted for the largest number of emigrants, with 39,500 people in this age group leaving the country. This increased from 31,300 in the previous 12 months.

Some 35,800 in the 15-24 age group emigrated, up from 34,500 the previous year. Some 4,900 under-14-year-olds left, in addition to 5,600 in the 45-64 age group and 1,200 aged over 65.

The UK was the most popular single destination for emigrants, with 19,000 people moving there. This marked a decrease of 1,000 on last year. Some 8,600 people moved to the US, while 24,000 moved to EU countries. The rest of the world attracted 35, 600 people.

A total of 52,700 people immigrated into Ireland, a decrease of 65 per cent since 2007 when immigration was at its peak. Some 25,000 men immigrated last year, compared to 80,000 in 2007.

Some 74,000 babies were born in the 12 months to April, while 29,200 people died. This brings the natural population growth for the year to 44,900, a fall of 2,600 on the previous year.

The rise in emigration has slowed the population growth, with the overall population growing by 10,500 to 4.59 million.

The figures include revisions to the population and migration estimates for the 2007 to 2011 period using data from the Census 2011 published earlier this year.

The overall population increase of 0.2 per cent was unevenly distributed across the regions, with the Mid-East showing the strongest growth at 1.2 per cent, and the Border showing the largest decrease of 0.9 per cent.

The male population is estimated to have decreased by 900 in the year ending in April, the first time a decrease has been recorded since 1990. This fall is attributed to the decrease of 8,900 non-Irish men.

Assistant director of the National Youth Council of Ireland James Doorley expressed “serious concern” at today’s migration statistics.

“The emigration figures released today further underline the need for immediate and stronger Government action to stem the flow of young people leaving the country in the first instance and, secondly, the need to provide greater support and advice to young people who are left with little option but to emigrate,” he said.

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