Ireland Population 2020
Ireland's 2020 population is estimated at just over 4.94 million, according to the most recent UN projections. 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.
The most recent Ireland census was taken in 2011, which recorded the total count as 4,588,252. This represented an 8.2% increase from the 2006 numbers. The most recent census was taken in 2016, but the final results are still being tabulated. Preliminary results put the total population at 4,757,976, which is a bit higher than the UN projections. This makes Ireland the 124th most populated country in the world.
Ireland Area and Population Density
The island of Ireland is located in the North Atlantic and is the 3rd largest island in Europe with an area of 32,595 square miles (84,421 square kilometers) which ranks 122nd in the world in terms of size. The Republic of Ireland covers 5/6 of the island while Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, covers the rest of the island. As of 2017, the population of Ireland was 4.784 million people, leading to a population density of roughly 147 people per square mile (57 people per square kilometer) which ranks at roughly 122nd in the world in terms of population density.
Largest Cities in Ireland
Nearly two-thirds of the Irish population live in urban areas, and several significant cities reflect this. The capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland is Dublin, which has an urban population of 1.9 million. Dublin was originally founded as part of a Viking settlement, becoming the nation's principal city after the Norman invasion. Dublin covers just 44 square miles, making the population density 43,181 people per square mile. Cork is the next largest city in Ireland with a population of 399,216. Other major cities with populations in the 100,000 range include Limerick, Galway, and Swords.
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, Eastern Europeans, Africans, and South Americans, the latter two to a lesser degree. Celtic and Gaelic culture and traditions strongly influence the Irish culture.
The diverse city of Dublin contains many immigrant communities including Polish, Lithuanian, British, Latvian and Nigerian. Most of the diversity within Ireland comes from European descent, with exactly 5% of the population identifying as non-white. Migration to Ireland is fairly common and they rank 28th in the world in terms of the amount of immigration they receive.
Ireland Religion, Economy and Politics
The largest religion in the country is Christianity, 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.
The economy in Ireland has been one of the strongest in Europe in recent years with consistently rising wages and almost zero unemployment. Major industries in Ireland include high-tech, life sciences, and financial services- all of which are very lucrative.
Ireland's political system is broken into two jurisdictions which are governed separately: the sovereign state which makes up five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. Generally speaking, the Irish government is a parliamentary democracy. They have a president that is elected democratically for a seven-year term, for a maximum of two terms. The Irish parliament is called the Oireachtas, which is divided into two houses: the Dáil and the Seanad Éireann. The Dáil is a 158-member legislative power, and the Seanad functions like a Senate to delay or change bills passed by the Dáil.
Ireland Population History
During the Potato Famine -between 1845 and 1851 - two million people died or were forced to emigrate from Ireland. The population of Ireland has never been able to repopulate to its pre-famine level of approximately 8 million residents.
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 in 1919.
A guerrilla war was 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.
Jumping ahead, 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. Will Ireland be able to match pre-Famine numbers if this trend continues? Only time will tell.
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.
Ireland Population Growth
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 Projections
Although the population of Ireland is expected to continue to grow in the years to come, it will likely do so at an increasingly slow rate, however this could only be temporary. Current projections believe that the annual rate of growth will decrease from 0.79% in 2020 down to 0.43% in 2050. Over this same time period, the population of Ireland is predicted to be 4,887,992 in 2020, 5,219,951 in 2030, 5,530,561 in 2040, and 5,801,399 by 2050.
Components of Population Change
|One birth every 9 minutes|
|One death every 17 minutes|
|One net migrant every 29 minutes|
|Net gain of one person every 11 minutes|
Source: Eckhard Pecher [CC BY 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5), CC BY 2.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/de/deed.en), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons