Population and migration estimates for the 12 months period through April 2014 have been finally released by the CSO with a lag of some 4 months. The figures show some marginal improvement in the underlying trends compared to the disastrous 2013, but overall the situation remains bleak.
Let's start with top level figures first and deal with compositional details in the subsequent post.
Births numbers have fallen to the levels last seen in 2007, from 70,500 in 2013 to 67,700 in 2014. Improving labour market and deteriorating personal finances are more likely behind the trend: the former means lower incentives to stay out of labour market and lower incentives to take maternity leave protection, while the latter means increased pressure to generate second income in the family, which is, of course, automatically associated with having to pay extortionate childcare costs. Whatever the drivers are, this is the births rate peaked in 2010 and has been declining since, neatly tracing out labour markets developments. 2014 marks the first year since 2007 that the rate is below 70,000.
Deaths are running at the rate proximate to 2013 and not far off from 2012. This means that the Natural Increase in population has slowed down to 37,900 in 2014 from 40,800 in 2013 and this marks the lowest natural rate of increase since 2006 and the first sub-40,000 rate of increase since 2007.
Immigration rose in 12 months through April 2014 to 60,600 from 55,900 in the 12 months through April 2013. 2014 figure is the highest since 2009. Emigration declined to 81,900 in 2014 against 89,000 in 2013. This is the lowest level of emigration since 2011 when outflow of migrants from the country was running at 80,600.
Net emigration also moderated in 12 months through April 2014, declining from 2013 level of 33,100 to 2014 figure of 21,400. This marks the lowest net emigration rate for the entire crisis period. Which is, undoubtedly, good news. Bad news, we are still in net emigration mode.
With slower rate of net emigration outflows, net change in Irish resident population was positive in 12 months through April 2014, recording an increase of 16,500 y/y, compared to 7,700 rise in 12 months through April 2013.
A chart to illustrate:
Meanwhile, cumulated 2009-2014 emigration amounted to 479,800, cumulated net emigration for the same period amounted to 142,200. These are actual figures recorded. Taking into the account the trends in Irish migration over 2000-2007 period, the 'opportunity cost' of the crisis is the *net* loss of some 521,000 residents relative to where the population could have been were the trends established in 2000-2007 to remain in place.
A chart to illustrate:
As the result of the above changes in actual migration and natural rate of increases in population, we have the following changes in the working and non-working age populations:
- Working-age (20-64 year olds) population stood at 2,728,300 as of the end of April 2014, down 14,500 on a year ago and down 64,200 on 2008.
- As percentage of the total population, working-age population is now standing at 59.2%, the lowest for any period since 2006.
- Non-working age population is up 31,300 to 1,881,600 in 2014 compared to 2013 and up 188,900 on 2008.
- Non-working age population now stands at 40.8%, up on 40.3% in 2013 and the highest for any period since 2006.
Charts to illustrate: