Emigration of Irish nationals falls 13% with 35,300 leaving in year

Just one in seven emigrants were unemployed before leaving, CSO figures show

The number of Irish people leaving Ireland remains high, despite improvements in the economy and a fall in unemployment.

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office on Wednesday show 35,300 Irish people emigrated in the 12 months to April 2015, a 13 per cent drop on the previous year when 40,700 Irish nationals left.

The news comes as the CSO also reported a further drop in Ireland’s unemployment rate to a six-year low of 9.5 per cent.

A total of 80,900 people of all nationalities moved out of Ireland in the year to April, 1,000 fewer than the previous year.


Immigration has increased for the third year in a row, with the numbers arriving here (including returning Irish nationals) rising 14 per cent to 69,300.

Irish people returning to live in Ireland from abroad made up 12,100 of that total, up just 4 per cent from the figure of 11,600 recorded in 2013-14.

Combining the number of emigrants minus the number of immigrants, the net outward migration figure is 11,600, down 45 per cent on the previous year.

Irish nationals continue to experience net outward migration, although at a lower level than the previous year, falling from 29,200 to 23,200.

Some 11,600 more non-Irish nationals arrived here than left in the year, up 47 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The figures also show that the majority of people emigrating were either at work or studying prior to leaving Ireland, with fewer than one in seven unemployed, down from one in five the previous year.

Slightly more than half of emigrants aged 15 or over had a third level degree or above, with 39,800 graduates leaving, the highest number since the CSO began recording this in 2009. A total of 31,700 people with third-level qualifications moved to Ireland in the 12-month period, however, bringing the net loss of graduates to 8,100.

The UK continues to be the most popular destination for emigrants of all nationalities leaving Ireland, with the numbers moving across the pond rising 7 per cent to 19,200.

Australia saw the biggest decline in popularity, with just 7,500 people moving there from Ireland in the 12-month period, down from 10,000 the previous year, and 18,200 at the peak of its popularity in 2011-12.

Canada witnessed a substantial jump in numbers arriving from Ireland, from 4,700 to 7,700, due to an increase in the allocation of Canadian working holiday visas for Irish people at the beginning of 2014. The number of men going to Canada significantly outnumbered women, by 5,600 to 2,100, reflecting the opportunities available in male-dominated professions including construction and mining.

The US also saw a fall in immigration from Ireland with 5,900 arriving, down from 6,900 the previous year and 8,600 in 2011-12.

The number of Irish men emigrating continued to outnumber Irish women, by 18,800 to 16,500.

The majority of people leaving Ireland in the 12 months to April were aged between 25 and 44, with 39,700 leaving in this age group, up slightly from 37,600 last year. The number of 45 to 64-year-olds emigrating also rose, by almost one-third to 4,500.

The number of 15 to 24-year-olds emigrating fell 9 per cent in the year to 30,400, while the number of children under the age of 14 also fell, by 10 per cent to 5,400.