Picture of Ireland: Population change between 1991 and 2011


From its low point, in 1961, of 2.8 million, Ireland’s population stood at 4.6 million in 2011. The maps show population change in Ireland and Dublin city over the 20-year period from 1991 to 2011. Since 1991 the population of Ireland has risen by just over 30 per cent, driven by immigration (returnee and non-Irish), and rising birth rates and low death rates.

The pattern of population has also been shaped by patterns of internal migration, especially flows from rural to urban/suburban, and city to suburb.

The result is an uneven pattern of population change. Despite the large, general increase in population, throughout the Celtic Tiger period some parts of the country lost population, particularly rural areas in the west and midlands, and the centres of some cities. The suburbs and commuting towns gained the most new residents. Despite the proliferation of one-off housing in rural areas, during the 20-year period Ireland became more urbanised, with 62 per cent of people now classified as urban.

You can view interactive versions at airomaps.nuim.ie/PictureofIreland.