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Population above 5 million for first time since 1851

Population above 5 million
Ireland’s population was estimated to be just over five million in April 2021
  • The population increased by 34,000 (+0.7%) in the year to April 2021 compared to an increase of 55,900 (+1.1%) in the year to April 2020
  • While 65,200 persons immigrated to Ireland in the year to April 2021, 30,200 (46.3%) of these were estimated to be returning Irish nationals, the highest number of returning Irish nationals since 2007
  • There were 645,500 non-Irish nationals resident in Ireland in April 2021, about one in eight (12.9%) of the total population
  • The population of Dublin in April 2021 was estimated to be 1.43 million persons, 28.5% of the total population
  • There were 742,300 people living in Ireland aged 65 and over in April 2021, an increase of 112,500 (+17.9%) since April 2016

Population above 5 million

Population and Migration Estimates, April 2021

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (31 August 2021) publishes the annual Population and Migration Estimates for April 2021.

Commenting on the results, James Hegarty, Statistician said: “Ireland’s population was estimated to be 5.01 million in April 2021, which is the first time the population has risen above five million since the 1851 census, when the comparable population was 5.11 million. The total population on the island of Ireland in 1851 was 6.6 million.

The combination of positive net migration and natural increase gave population growth of 34,000 (+0.7%) in the year to April 2021. This was smaller than the rise of 55,900 (+1.1%) in the year to April 2020.

There were 55,500 births and 32,700 deaths in the year to April, giving a natural increase (births less deaths) in the population of 22,800. This is the lowest level of natural increase recorded since the 2000 population estimates.

The number of immigrants to the State in the year to April 2021 is estimated to be 65,200, while the number of emigrants from the State over the same period is estimated at 54,000.  These combined flows gave positive net migration, (more people arrived than left), of 11,200 in the year to April 2021, compared with 28,900 in the previous year.

Irish nationals accounted for 30,200 (46.3%) of the 65,200 immigrants to Ireland, this is the highest number of returning Irish nationals since 2007.  Of the 54,000 emigrants from Ireland, 22,800 (42.2%) were estimated to be Irish nationals. Therefore, the number of Irish nationals who returned here to live was just over 7,300 higher than the number who left to live abroad. 

In the year to April 2021, 35,000 non-Irish nationals arrived to live in Ireland and 31,200 non-Irish nationals emigrated abroad. Therefore, positive net migration among non-Irish nationals was 3,900 in 2021, decreasing from 28,300 in 2020 (-86.2%).  These inflows resulted in the number of non-Irish nationals living in Ireland increasing slightly to 645,500 persons in April 2021 from 644,400 persons in April 2020, accounting for 12.9% of the total population.

The Dublin region experienced weak growth in the year increasing its population by just 8,300 persons (+0.6%).  Consequently, the population of Dublin in April 2021 was estimated to be 1.43 million persons, equating to 28.5% of the total population.

The population aged 65 and over increased by 22,200 (+3.1%) in the year to April 2021.  There were 742,300 people living in Ireland aged 65 and over in April 2021, an increase of 112,500 (+17.9%) since April 2016.”

Further commenting on the data, James Hegarty, Statistician, said:

“It should be noted that this release covers the 12 months to April 2021. Therefore, the results contained in this release reflect some of the demographic and social impacts of COVID-19.”