The Central Statistics Office released the preliminary findings from the 2022 census on 23 June. The headline item was that, for the first time since 1841, the population of Ireland was greater than five million. The initial results provide some insights into how migration has played a role in this historic population change.
Population growth since the previous census in April 2016 totalled 361,671, of which slightly more than half (190,333) is estimated to have come from net inward migration (number of people entering the State minus number of people leaving the State). This comes to an average annual population increase from migration of 31,722. This is significantly higher than the average for the previous census period (2011-2016), which stood at -4,934 per year, meaning that more people emigrated from Ireland than immigrated to Ireland during that time.
The results show that all twenty-six counties witnessed an increase in net inward migration between 2016 and 2022, with Dublin, Cork, and Meath seeing the highest numbers in this respect. The net inward migration to Dublin, at 46,559, was more than double that for Cork (20,892), which had the second-highest total inward migration during that period.
In its presentation of the results, the CSO notes several times that these numbers should be read with caution. The final census results will be released in 2023, having been analysed in significantly greater detail. The statistics on population change currently utilise preliminary birth and death data from the first quarter of 2022, which is subject to change. Furthermore, at the moment the net migration figures include ‘non-migratory movements’ such as visitors temporarily in the home or residents temporarily out of the State on census night; these will be accounted for and the numbers adjusted in the final results. Finally, as the CSO writes, ‘Analysis of key demographic variables such as age, sex and country of citizenship are required for a more detailed understanding of migration trends in Ireland’.
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