Ireland’s Population Surpasses Five Million for the First Time Since 1851

The population of the Republic of Ireland has surpassed five million for the first time since the 19th-century famine in 1851, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported.

According to the annual population estimates released by the CSO on Aug. 31, Ireland’s population stands at an estimated 5.01 million in April 2021 while in 1851, the comparable population was at 5.11 million.

The famine in Ireland in 1851 killed about one million people and the population continued to decrease for much of the 20th century through emigration.

The latest statistics showed that the Irish population grew by 34,000 (0.7%) in the year to April 2021, which is smaller to the increase of 55,900 (1.1%) in the year to April 2020.

Ireland recorded 55,500 births in the year to April, which is the lowest level of natural increase recorded since 2000.

Furthermore, of the 65,200 persons who immigrated to Ireland in the year to April 2021, 30,200 (46.3%) were estimated to be returning Irish nationals — the highest number since 2007.

Meanwhile, 645,500 (12.9%) of the total population were non-Irish nationals.

Also, the population of people aged 65 years and above stands at 742,300, an increase of 112,500 (17.9%) since April 2016.

The population of capital Dublin stands at an estimated 1.43 million, comprising 28.5% of the total population.

Statistician James Hegarty of CSO said that the latest numbers reflect “some of the demographic and social impacts of COVID-19.”


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