Ireland’s population at its highest for 135 years

Ireland’s (Republic of) population now exceeds 4.2 million, a jump of over 300,000 in just five years, according to preliminary results from the 2006 Census. The figure is the highest since the 1861 census with the biggest increases coming in Fingal, Meath and Kildare, accounting for 30% of the increase since 2002. Interestingly, the 5.6% increase for Dublin is well below the national increase of 8.1%. Cavan has seen a jump of 13.1% while Cork city and Limerick city were the only two of 34 administrative counties to record falls in the population in the last four years.

  • Brian Boru

    It’s important to stress that much information on questions of nationality, religion, incomes, etc. will only be revealed between April and September 2007.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Interestingly, the 5.6% increase for Dublin is well below the national increase of 8.1%

    This might be because Dublin is growing outwards, not becoming more densely populated. The big increases in Kildare should probably be considered as growth in the greater Dublin area.

    Another question. Around the time of the census I saw a bookmark listing the census results back to 1860 or so. But I couldn’t see any sudden drop around 1921. When, if ever, did they count only 26 counties instead of 32? Or have they been adjusting the old figures down to 26 counties?

  • DK

    The tentative number of non-Irish nationals is put at 400K on the report (up from 220K in 2002). This is nearly 10% of the population is non-native. We will have to wait until 2007 to find out where they are from. The biggest group in 2002 was people from England/Wales/Scotland. It may still be, rather than the public perception of Eastern Europeans, who are in highly visible service jobs.

  • Brian Boru

    OC I think the first 26 county-census was around 1926. The Free State officially came into existence in 1922.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Occasional Commentator,

    … When, if ever, did they count only 26 counties instead of 32?

    The results have always been gathered and presented by county. So the CSO, in its historic pieces, simply extracts the 26 county information out of the pre-1926 censuses. The NI census people tend to do fewer historical pieces, but if they did, they would of course just extract the 6 counties out of the records.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Thanks folks.
    It would have been nice if they made that clear in the small print of the bookmark – I think it was supplied with the census form so I’d have expected them to make it clear.

  • Brian Boru

    “The tentative number of non-Irish nationals is put at 400K on the report (up from 220K in 2002). This is nearly 10% of the population is non-native. We will have to wait until 2007 to find out where they are from. The biggest group in 2002 was people from England/Wales/Scotland. It may still be, rather than the public perception of Eastern Europeans, who are in highly visible service jobs.”

    I have some problems with the estimates of non-nationals for the following reasons:

    With 3,584,975 calling themselves “Irish” in Census 2002, and assuming the CSO are correct (in their estimate) that there are 180,000 more non-nationals in the country, then that would mean another 249,950 Irish nationals in the country – possibly indicating that many Irish returned since then. However I have my doubts about this figure because simply substracting the natural increase from population increase doesn’t tell you the true non-Irish population when you consider that children born to non-national parents often do not have Irish citizenship (remember the Citizenship-Tourism lark until 04). Another problem is that in the 2002 Census, 49,299 people fell collectively into the Irish-American, Irish-English, Irish-European and Irish-Other categories. Hence, some of the supposed non-national immigration in the Census estimates may actually be the foreign-born children of Irish emigrants and therefore have Irish citizenship through inheritating it. So it’s too early to draw firm conclusions on this issue. The picture is still confused. The 2007 figures will be more revealing.

  • GrassyNoel

    We’re catching up on China!!!

    Yahooo! Come on lads, keep it going!

    “Ye’ll neee-eever beee-eat the Oirish, Ye’ll neee-eever beee-eat dee Oirish”…etc. etc.

    *(spills pint, hiccups and staggers backwards into a load of tables and chairs, sending dishes, plates and broken glass flying everywhere)

  • Resolve

    Not surprised at the fall in Limerick’s population… anyone been down there recently? The amount of shootings and mafia-style activities? Madness…

  • McCourt

    Resolve

    can we expect novel by sons of Limerick desribing how their da spent the dole on speed before the pain was too much and the kids bogged off to America. Where it turned out to be worse?

  • Resolve

    FAO McCourt…

    With respect… i sense that you making a worthwhile point to me, one which I would like to reply to… but i can’t, reason being that i have absolutely no idea what that sentence was supposed to mean!

  • Greenflag

    The Census results also serve to highlight the different demographic experience as between the Republic and NI over the past half century .
    IIRC the Republic’s population is estimated to grow to 5 million by 2016 whereas the NI population is estimated to grow from 1.7 million to 1.8 million over the same period . A continuation of that trend into the second and third decade of this century will lead to NI eventually making up less than 10% of the island’s population with ‘Unionists’ accounting for about 5% or less than half the present percentage of immigrants in the Republic ?

    Had Ireland had the same demographic experience of smaller European countries such as Denmark, Holland, Belgium etc the Irish population today would be close to 20 million or one quarter of the total of the entire British Isles . In 1840 Irelands population was one third that of Britain (24 million /8 million) .

    The famine and the legacy of emigration and economic underdevelopment ‘culled ‘ the Irish in a manner not experienced by any other population in Europe since the Black Death .

    It seems we as a nation have almost recovered from the ‘culling’ 🙂

    As for catching up on China ? I’m already learning Mandarin . Along with Polish it’s a great help to living in Dublin these days .

  • Keith M

    My goodness there’s a lot of political motivated spinning going on already on this thread, so let me add my perspective.

    In the last census before the IFS left the UK, Northern Ireland had 28.5% of the population of the island of Ireland. Today that share is……28.5%, using the 2001 census informaion for N.I.. If as I believe that Northern Ireland’s population has also gone up between 2001 and 2006, then the percentage that N.I. makes up, is likely to be greater.

    Yes, the Republic has caught up in the last 15 years, but all that has been done is to undo the damage done by the decades of mis-goverence this country suffered.

  • Greenflag

    KM,

    ‘Yes, the Republic has caught up in the last 15 years, but all that has been done is to undo the damage done by the decades of mis-goverence this country suffered. ‘

    You omitted in your ‘all that has been done’ the centuries not decades of mis governance by the former colonial power in Ireland

    As for mis governance since the foundation of the Irish State ? I’d say that at least they were our own economic policy ‘mistakes’ and we seem to have largely corrected them .

    When will ‘Unionism’ get around to doing likewise ? Unless of course Unionists are as usual incapable of making ‘mistakes’ .

  • Keith M

    “You omitted in your ‘all that has been done’ the centuries not decades of mis governance by the former colonial power in Ireland. ”

    I omitted because it because it’s completely irreleant. I stated the clock at the last census before partion, therefore the impact of any mis-goverence will have been since the IFS left the UK.

    “As for mis governance since the foundation of the Irish State ? I’d say that at least they were our own economic policy ‘mistakes’ and we seem to have largely corrected them.”

    Tell that to the hundreds of thousands who left this country because of lack of opportunity and who have not come back. Mistakes made by and Irish government are even less forgivable that those by a U/K. and separation was supposed to help Irish people. Instead it only helped a small few corrupt people to help themselves.

    “When will ‘Unionism’ get around to doing likewise ? Unless of course Unionists are as usual incapable of making ‘mistakes’.” Northern Ireland as steady and sustainable population rowth not like the decades of bust and the odd decade of boom that has happened in this country. Most experts will tell you that socially and economically, slow but steady growth is much better.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I omitted because it because it’s completely irrelevant..

    On the contrary the economic and demographic history of the Irish Free State 1922 to 1960 was largely determined by the previous century’s population collapse from 8.5 million to 4 million . Stating that that is irrelevant to Irish population figures is akin to stating that the Sun is irrelevant to all life on earth.

    ‘Tell that to the hundreds of thousands who left this country because of lack of opportunity ‘

    Sad as that situation was it was a major improvement on the millions who left the country during the centuries of British rule .

    Northern Ireland’s demographic experience differed but not by much . During the 1700’s hundreds of thousands of people left the northern counties for America and elsewhere most of them Presbyterian . A small area around Belfast prospered and brought in people from surrounding counties . Belfast in the late 1780’s had a tiny catholic population . During Belfast’s industrial growth the only people left to bring in were Catholics as many of the Presbyterians had left.

    ‘Most experts will tell you that socially and economically, slow but steady growth is much better.’

    And the same experts usually tell us this after the event .

    Are these the same experts who told us that the Famine was good for us ? or that the de industrialisation of Northern Ireland was inevitable or that the GFA is the be all and end all of ‘political solutions’ for NI because the politicians can’t think of anything else ?

    Que sera sera .

  • McCourt

    Resolve

    It wasn’t that complicated.
    Really.

  • Greenflag

    One fact gleaned from the census is that Ulster (9 Counties ) now has a population of almost 2 million in which the Ulster Irish make up some 1,100,000 whereas British Unionists make up around 900,000 thus giving a 55% to 45% majority for ‘nationalists ‘ in Ulster . As I used NI figures for 2001 I may have overestimated the total for ‘Unionists ‘

    The numbers confirm Lord Edward Carson’s concern in 1920 that a 9 county Northern Ireland would have been a ‘mistake’ for Unionists assuming they were willing to ‘obey’ the laws of democracy in a 9 county Ulster .

    Now that the demographics of the 6 county NI are approximating to those of 1920 9 county Ulster what can Unionist politicians do accept to look again at another partition ? It’s the honest thing to do and their supporters know that the writing is on the demographic wall anyway .

  • harpo

    ‘A continuation of that trend into the second and third decade of this century will lead to NI eventually making up less than 10% of the island’s population with ‘Unionists’ accounting for about 5% or less than half the present percentage of immigrants in the Republic ?’

    Green:

    Why are you so obsessed about the island, and unionists?

    Can’t you get over the fact that partition happened? Why do you feel the need to add figures for part of the UK to these figures for the ROI?

  • harpo

    ‘One fact gleaned from the census is that Ulster (9 Counties ) now has a population of almost 2 million in which the Ulster Irish make up some 1,100,000 whereas British Unionists make up around 900,000 thus giving a 55% to 45% majority for ‘nationalists ‘ in Ulster .’

    Green:

    This is only because of the ethnic cleansing of the Ulster British in the occupied 3 counties.

    ‘assuming they were willing to ‘obey’ the laws of democracy’

    Unionists have always ben willing to obey the laws of democracy. They are called ‘majority rule’. It’s nationalists who seem to have a problem with these rules.

    ‘Now that the demographics of the 6 county NI are approximating to those of 1920 9 county Ulster what can Unionist politicians do accept to look again at another partition ?’

    Why’s that? Back to those laws of democracy. It’s called majority rule. And while there is a majority within NI in favour of staying wihin the UK, that’s the way it will be. Of course, with all this power-sharing nonsense, that’s the only bit of democracy that happens in NI.

    Why would anyone re-partition when they are still in the majority?

  • Greenflag

    This is only because of the ethnic cleansing of the Ulster British in the occupied 3 counties. ‘

    Lets agree with your bogus remark Harpo and for the sake of the numbers do the sums . At most there would have been 20,000 Unionists total in Counties Donegal /Cavan and Monaghan in 1900 so assuming they all left for NI that would reduce the Ulster ‘nationalist majority to 160,000.

    Now add in the differential of the total for emigration from the 6 counties in the period 1920 to 1980 which affected the Nationalist population of the 6 counties more so than the Unionists . I don’t know any source which would have those numbers but I’d estimate that you could add on a 150,000 more to the nationalist numbers from the emigration differentials alone.Thus a 9 county Ulster today would have a 350,000 nationalist majority .

    ‘Unionists have always ben willing to obey the laws of democracy’

    Which explains why Unionists imported arms illegally from the Kaiser in 1912 and refused to recognise the Irish General election result of 1918 ?

    ‘And while there is a majority within NI in favour of staying wihin the UK, that’s the way it will be.’

    Full marks for the obvious .Brilliant analysis.

    ‘Why would anyone re-partition when they are still in the majority? ‘

    Settling for half a NI loaf I’d say is better than no Unionist bread at all . In 1920 Unionists grabbed 2/3 of the Ulster loaf . Based on present trends they’ll be lucky to hold on to one third of the NI loaf . And if Unionist politicians don’t get their act together all that will be left will be a thin sandwich slice .

    ‘Can’t you get over the fact that partition happened?’

    I have . And I’ll have no problem getting over the next partition either . JUst as long as a neutral international agency redraws the border .

    ‘Why do you feel the need to add figures for part of the UK to these figures for the ROI? ‘

    Because Ulster is in Ireland and Northern Ireland is in Ulster.

    ‘Why are you so obsessed about the island, and unionists? ‘

    Obsessed ? Naw. I just want an end to the political nonsense that is a 6 county Northern Ireland . This expensive political and economic joke has gone on long enough . It’s past time to take out the map and redraw the border so that it makes more political sense- given the demographic changes of the past 50 years .

    Best of all it gives Unionists a last chance to prove they are capable of ‘democracy’ and not just the detritus of imperialism cast on a foreign shore.

  • Reader

    Greenflag: and refused to recognise the Irish General election result of 1918 ?
    There wasn’t an Irish General election in 1918 – there was a UK General Election and in that UK General Election the unionists voted for their UK MPs to go to the UK Parliament, and so there they went…
    But how can you be a re-partitionist without also being a partitionist – are you just after the least-worst option available to you? Same as the Ulster Unionists in 1919, then.

  • joeCanuck

    Grassy Noel

    *(spills pint, hiccups and staggers backwards into a load of tables and chairs, sending dishes, plates and broken glass flying everywhere)

    All of that stuff you just trashed was made in China. They are now busy making relacements.

  • Greenflag

    ‘there was a UK General Election and in that UK General Election the unionists voted for their UK MPs to go to the UK Parliament, and so there they went…’

    And the Irish who won 75% of the votes on this island in the 1918 General Election voted for their representatives to go to Dail Eireann and there they went.

    ‘But how can you be a re-partitionist without also being a partitionist’

    You might just as well ask how can you be an apple without being an orange .They are/were both ‘solutions’ at different times to the irreconcilable political division in NI/Ulster which has existed for several centuries and at least as far back as the Act of Union.

    Partition was the inevitable result of Unionist opposition to Irish Home Rule . From a Unionist perspective it was as you put it Unionism’s least worst option in 1920.

    Fast forward to 2006 and ‘repartition’ is now becoming Unionism’s least worst option for similar reasons to those of 1920 . Simple sectarian demographics .

    The 6 county NI State does not have and neither has it ever had, sufficient local support to give it ‘democratic’ legitimacy. Majority rule is ‘democratic’ in a State where there is acceptance and consensus by the vast majority for that Stste .

    That situation has never existed in Northern Ireland and never will . When I say accepted by the vast majority I don’t mean a 55% majority or a 70% majority I mean 90% plus .

    A fair Repartition would allow Unionsts to have State in NI which would have ‘democratic ‘ legitimacy .

    I would have thought that a ‘least worst option’ which can work is to be preferred to the ‘best/optimal solutions’ which will never be agreed upon by the main parties and thus which can never work.

    A devolved, powerless , NI Assembly is the ‘worst’ solution IMO. Window dressing in a house with no windows.

  • Reader

    Greenflag: Fast forward to 2006 and ‘repartition’ is now becoming Unionism’s least worst option…
    I’m a North Down unionist and not particularly emotionally attached to bits of grass 50 miles away. But my objection to re-partition is that announcement of the prospect would re-start the troubles as the worst of both sides tried to claim turf in advance of the polls. More ideological people will object to either breaking up the 6 counties, or not getting all 32. Others would object to partition by Counties, or Councils, or towns, or townlands, or wards – preferring one of the other methods. Plus the argument over enclaves.
    My least-worst option is to continue to struggle on with the GFA, or some close variant.
    And you defeat your own argument by trying to persuade unionists that re-partition is our best option, while telling nationalists it’s their only option. There’s a lot of people out there who really do believe this is all one big zero-sum game.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I’m a North Down unionist and not particularly emotionally attached to bits of grass 50 miles away’

    I’m a North Dublin nationalist and not particularly emotionally attached to bits of grass 120 miles away’

    ‘But my objection to re-partition is that announcement of the prospect would re-start the troubles as the worst of both sides tried to claim turf in advance of the polls. ‘

    What polls ? What troubles ? A fair repartition would be drawn up on the basis of the last census with some local updates in a few areas. It should be left to a neutral international agency to draw the new line . As for the threat of ‘ideological ‘ violence . Both Governments armed forces and police as well as UN troops would be on the ground to ensure that a neutral international agency does it’s work.

    ‘by trying to persuade unionists that re-partition is our best option’

    If you are a British Unionist who values a ‘permanent ‘ Union with the UK then Repartition is not just your best option -it’s your only option IMO.

    ‘while telling nationalists it’s their only option’

    A fair Repartition is not the ‘only ‘ option for Nationalists it’s the best option.

    Why would anybody want to include 850,000 British Unionists in State to which they have no allegiance or empathy ? Why would anybody want to keep 780,000 Northern Irish nationalists in a 6 county state to which they have no allegiance and little empathy ?

    Thus a fair repartition is the least worst option for both Unionists and Nationalists and also the ‘best’ option .

    ‘My least-worst option is to continue to struggle on with the GFA’

    Prepare to be disappointed.

    ‘There’s a lot of people out there who really do believe this is all one big zero-sum game. ‘

    There was also a lot of people who believed the earth was flat until they found out the home truth, that they could just as easily live on a round world as on a flat earth.

  • seanniee

    Get more in,Particularly Italians,Spanish,Portugese,Argentinians,Mexicans,
    Brazileans,French,Austrians and Venezulans.
    It will make us better looking.

  • Frank / Malachy,
    nice comment.

    Must be nice to have made so much money from ‘memories’ of misery…AA was a shite book overall.

    Resolve,
    Go to the library. Get an education. Then come back to us.

  • Reader

    Greenflag: What polls ? What troubles ? A fair repartition would be drawn up on the basis of the last census with some local updates in a few areas.
    I filled in the latest census – there was no question that related to a re-partition preference. Did you envisage some algorithm based on religion, place of birth, citizenship, first and last names? In the religion question, I put “None”, I know someone who put “Jedi” – how will our answers count?
    All that evasion just to avoid the risk that the opinion polls were right all along!

  • Greenflag

    Reader ,

    ‘I filled in the latest census – there was no question that related to a re-partition preference.

    Well the answer then is simple . Have a special census in advance of a repartition solution with the question included . You could also have questions on other constitutional alternatives . Probably get more accurate numbers than ‘opinion ‘ polls anyway.

  • Southern Observer

    [i]Now add in the differential of the total for emigration from the 6 counties in the period 1920 to 1980 which affected the Nationalist population of the 6 counties more so than the Unionists . I don’t know any source which would have those numbers but I’d estimate that you could add on a 150,000 more to the nationalist numbers from the emigration differentials alone.Thus a 9 county Ulster today would have a 350,000 nationalist majority .[/i]
    Ironically economic ethnic cleansing backfired as educational/economic deprivation tends to be associated with higher birth rates.In fact Catholic birth rates began to drop only when they got a fairer slice of the economic pie.

  • Reader

    Greenflag: Well the answer then is simple . Have a special census in advance of a repartition solution with the question included
    Better still – make sure it’s done by secret ballot. By the way – that leaves all of my original objections intact.

  • Reader

    Immigration / Emigration
    ” The effects of emigration on the size of both communities is difficult to assess. Up until the 1961 census, it was estimated that 60% of emigrants were Catholic, this is thought to have diminished to 50% between 1971 and 1991, thus offsetting the Catholic fertility ‘advantage’.”
    From:
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/orb/summaries/Cole99.htm

    Linked from a list here:
    http://www.ark.ac.uk/cgi-bin/arksearch2.pl?subject=demo:Demography

    There’s no obvious information on immigration, but isn’t there anecdotal evidence that much of ‘Derry was populated from Donegal?

  • Greenflag

    ‘In fact Catholic birth rates began to drop only when they got a fairer slice of the economic pie. ‘

    Same the world over. The wealthy have material goods /education/financial security and one or two kids

    The poor have more children.

    Ergo ‘immigration’.