Almost one in eight living in Ireland hail from abroad

Poles, British, Lithuanians the largest cohort in State – Eurostat

Nearly one in eight people living in Ireland comes from abroad, according to research by Eurostat published on Friday.

The European statistics agency said that at 11.8 per cent of the population, Ireland had the sixth highest proportion of foreign nationals.

According to data, taken from January 1st, 2014, Poles made up the largest grouping of non-nationals in Ireland at 22 per cent (or 118,042), followed by British 21 per cent (115,658); Lithuanians 7 per cent (35, 617) and Latvians (20, 086) and Nigerians (19, 727) 4 per cent each.

The EU country with the highest proportion of foreign citizens in the total resident population was Luxembourg 45.3 per cent, with almost half of the population not having Luxembourgish citizenship.


The remaining countries with a higher percentage of their population from abroad than Ireland were: Cyprus, 19.5 per cent; Latvia, 15.2 per cent; Estonia, 14.9 per cent; and Austria, 12.5 per cent.

In Britain 7.9 per cent of the population is non-British national.

By contrast at the other end of the scale the countries with the lowest proportion of their population from abroadwere Poland, 0.3 per cent; Romania, 0.4 per cent; and Croatia, Lithuania all on 0.8 per cent.

Foreign nationals

Poles are registered among the five main groups of foreign nationals living in 10 member states, while Germans occupy that slot in nine member states, with Italians and Romanians next; in eight member states.

In Britain Poles made up the largest group in the non-national population with almost 750,000 living there, followed by Indians, Irish (336, 780), Pakistanis and Lithuanians.

Overall, foreign citizens made up 6.7 per cent of the resident population of the EU member states on January 1st, 2014.

On that date EU member states had a population of 506.8 million, of which 472.8 million were nationals with 34.1 million foreign citizens.

This latter group was made up of 14.3 million citizens of another member state and 19.8 million non-EU citizens.

People who acquired citizenship in a member state are no longer counted as foreign citizens in the relevant country.

Generally, the largest group of foreign residents in each EU member state is made up of citizens of another EU member state and/or of a neighbouring country.

Belgium, Ireland, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Slovakia were the only five member states where there were fewer citizens of non-EU countries than citizens of another member state.

In Ireland 8.1 per cent of non nationals are from EU member states with 3.7 per cent from outside the EU.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times