Ireland Population 2016
When discussing the population of Ireland, it’s important to make a distinction between two territories that are separated politically. Geographically speaking, the term "Ireland" relates to both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, but in terms of population statistics, both entities are kept apart. In 2016, the estimated population of the Republic of Ireland is 4.6 million, while estimates put the population of Northern Ireland at 1.8 million.
The island of Ireland is located in the North Atlantic. It's the 3rd largest island in Europe and the second-largest of the British Isles with an area of 84,421 square kilometers. It's the Republic of Ireland that is officially named Ireland. The Republic of Ireland covers 5/6 of the island while Northern Ireland -- part of the United Kingdom -- covers the rest of the area. In 2015, the Republic of Ireland has a population estimated at 4.63 million, which ranks 124th in the world. Northern Ireland has a population of 1.86 million.
The capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland is Dublin, which has an urban population of 1.11 million. Dublin was originally founded as part of a Viking settlement, becoming the nation's principal city after the Norman invasion.
Ireland has been inhabited for more than 9,000 years by groups like the Riata, Laigin, and Cruthin. Over the last 1,200 years, the island has been inhabited by the Vikings, Normans, Welsh, Scots, English, Africans, South Americans, and Eastern Europeans.
The largest religious group in the country is Christians, particularly Roman Catholics, which account for more than 84% of the population of the Republic of Ireland. There is a small but rapidly growing population of Muslim people due to immigration. About 4% of the Republic of Ireland has no religion, compared to 14% in Northern Ireland. There is also a small Jewish population.
There is a massive Irish diaspora in the United States, England, Canada, and Australia with more than 5 million Canadians (15% of the population) of Irish descent. There are about 34.5 million Americans with Irish ancestry.
The Republic of Ireland has been a popular destination for immigrants for the last 50 years, particularly immigrants from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and the Czech Republic. In 2006, 10% of the population (420,000 people) were foreign nationals, while 24% of births were to mothers born outside of the country. A 2015 study showed that almost 1 in 8 people living in Ireland were born abroad.
Ireland Population History
The Republic of Ireland gained its independence from Great Britain in the early part of the 20th century. After a failed uprising in 1916, Irish nationalist parliamentarians formed their own government three years later.
A guerrilla war undertaken by the Irish Republican Army then followed and the independent state of the Republic of Ireland was finally ratified by the British government with the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1922.
The rise in population from 2002 to 2006 showed that the annual growth rate of 2% was the highest since records began. That was ultimately responsible for the increase in numbers of 322,645 in the four years from 2002.
The official figures from the 2011 Census showed that the growth has continued and there were 341,421 more citizens living in the Republic of Ireland in 2011 than there were in 2006.
This increase is a little inconsistent within Ireland itself, however, and while Dublin and other urban areas are enjoying sustained growth, more rural regions are actually experiencing a decline in population.
Overall however, the Ireland population in 2016 is enjoying healthy increases and the next official census results for 2016 could even see the total figures near 5.5 million.