The latest population estimates show that the number of people living in the State moved closer to five million in the year to April, with a rise in the number of Irish people returning home one of the factors in the increase.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said that while the population grew by 55,900 to 4.98 million since April 2019, the rate of growth slowed to 1.1% from 1.3% the previous year.
The rise was due to a natural increase in the population – more births than deaths – and immigrants outnumbering emigrants.
Natural increase slows
The number of births was 58,300 while the number of deaths was 31,200, resulting in a natural increase of 27,100 in the year. This is the lowest level of natural increase recorded since the 2001 population estimates.
The number of immigrants to the State in the year to April was 85,400, while 56,500 are estimated to have emigrated. This gives a net inward migration figure of 28,900, down more than 14% from the previous year.
The CSO figures show that more than a third of those coming into the country were Irish nationals returning – and that this figure of 28,900 was the highest since 2007.
A full 28,300 – around half – of those emigrating were Irish nationals. This meant more Irish nationals returned than emigrated, a reversal of the situation in the previous year.
The number of non-Irish nationals living in Ireland increased from 622,700 in April 2019 to 644,400, representing 12.9% of the total population.
After a number of years of increases, the number of UK nationals coming into Ireland fell over the year.
Earlier this month, a study by Oxford University in Berlin and the Berlin Social Science Center found that the number of UK nationals emigrating to other EU countries had risen by 30% since the Brexit referendum in 2016.
The CSO estimates showed that the population of Dublin in April 2020 was estimated to be almost 1.42 million, 28.5% of the State’s total.
720,100 people were estimated to be aged 65 years and over, an increase of more than 14% since April 2016.
CSO statistician James Hegarty said that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the figures was limited, and was expected to be seen in the figures for the year to April 2021.