The Republic’s population has recorded its biggest annual increase since 2008 on the back of a near record level of inward migration.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the State’s population rose by 88,800 to 5.1 million in the 12 months to April this year. This is the highest population recorded in a survey or census since the 1840s and the first time the population has been consistently above five million since 1851.
The CSO said the annual increase was driven by a combination of net migration — the difference between the number of people moving into and out of the State — and a natural increase through excess births over deaths.
The number of immigrants entering the State jumped by over 85 per cent to a 15-year high of 120,700. The CSO noted that inward immigration has only been higher once in the past 30 years — in 2007 when the State saw an influx of migrants in the wake of EU enlargement.
[ Number of births increased by 16% in first quarter of 2022, new figures by the CSO show ]
Of the incoming migrants, 28,900 were returning Irish nationals, 24,300 were other EU nationals, and 4,500 were UK nationals. The remaining 63,000 were other nationals, including almost 28,000 Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. The CSO figures also show that more people emigrated than in recent years, with 59,600 people leaving the State compared with 54,000 in 2021.
There was also a natural increase of 27,700 people in the State as 60,700 babies were born while 33,000 people died in the year.
Both immigration and emigration fell during the height of the pandemic amid greater restrictions around mobility generally. However, that trend now appears to have reversed.
The Republic’s population is measured in a census every five years. In the intervening period, the CSO compiles an annual estimated population figure by tracking births, deaths and migration trends.
The latest data also show there were 768,900 people living in the Republic aged 65 and over in April 2022 and that those in this age cohort have risen in terms of population share between 2016 and 2022, increasing from 13.3 per cent to 15.1 per cent, a volume increase of 139,100 people. Age-related spending on health and other services on the back of an ageing population is one of the big fiscal challenges faced by Government.
The proportion of the population living in Dublin has also increased from 27.6 per cent of the total in 2011 to 28.4 per cent of the total in 2022 and is now at 1.45 million.