Ireland - Immigration drives population increase

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Continuing high immigration to Ireland is driving a substantial population increase, according to recent figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

In the year ending in April, 2007, the total number of immigrants that entered Ireland was 109,500 -- up almost 2,000 over the previous year and substantially higher than for any other year since these specific immigration statistics began to be collected in 1987.

However, CSO figures showed that emigration from Ireland increased as well; during the same period in 2007, the number of people leaving the country was 42,200. This is the highest figure since the early 90s.

As a result, while immigration is increasing, net migration has fallen from the record high of 71,800 in the year ending April 2006 to 67,300 in the year ending April 2007.

The natural increase in the population (births minus deaths) was 38,800 for the year ending in April 2007. Adding natural population increase to the amount of net migration resulted in a combined population increase of 106,100 (up 2.5 percent over the previous year), bringing the total population of Ireland to an estimated 4.34 million in April 2007.

Immigration was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the population increase. 48 percent of immigrants were nationals of the twelve new European Union member states that joined in 2004 and 2007.

More than half of immigrants were aged 25-44, while a further 28 percent were aged 15-24. One in ten immigrants were children under the age of 15.