Ireland Population 2020

4,926,038

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 Demographics

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

Ireland Population in 2018Source: 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

Ireland Population Pyramid 2020

Ireland Population by Age

There are 3,664,387 adults in Ireland.

Census Years

Year Date
20212021
201623 May 2016
201128 April 2011
200623 April 2006
200228 April 2002
199628 April 1996
199121 April 1991
198613 April 1986

Ireland continues to grow at a steady rate, albeit much slower than in the previous decade. In both the 1970s and 2000s, Ireland saw periods of rapid growth.

In the 1840s, prior to the Irish Potato Famine, the population of Ireland was as high as 6.5 million, much higher than today. As a result, the number of Irish expatriates dwarfs the resident Irish population.

Ireland is projected to continue it's growth throughout the 21st century at a moderate rate.

Official NameRepublic of Ireland
Languages SpokenEnglish, Irish
Is LandlockedNo
Latitude/Longitude53.00, -8.00
Currencies UsedEuro
DemonymIrish
BordersUnited Kingdom
Name Population Location
Dublin1,024,027Map
Cork190,384Map
Dun Laoghaire185,400Map
Luimneach90,054Map
Gaillimh70,686Map
Tallaght64,282Map
Waterford47,904Map
Swords36,924Map
Drogheda33,441Map
Dundalk33,428Map
Navan24,545Map
Ennis24,427Map
Balbriggan23,364Map
Tralee22,941Map
Sandyford22,288Map
Kilkenny21,589Map
Naas20,713Map
Sligo20,228Map
Carlow20,055Map
Loch Garman19,913Map

Ireland Population Clock

The population of Ireland (as of 4/2/2020)?4,926,038
Last UN Estimate (July 1, 2020)4,937,786
Births Per Day165
Deaths Per Day83
Net Migrations Per Day50
Net Change Per Day132
Population Change Since January 1st12,276

Ireland Population Estimator

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Estimate as of April 2nd 2020 is: 4,924,304

Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
20204,937,78649.64%50.36%70.271241.13%
20194,882,49549.61%50.39%69.481241.32%
20184,818,69049.57%50.43%68.571241.38%
20174,753,27949.53%50.47%67.641211.22%
20164,695,77949.50%50.50%66.821210.93%
20154,652,42549.49%50.51%66.211210.43%
20104,554,32149.69%50.31%64.811201.92%
20054,141,22349.92%50.08%58.931231.83%
20003,783,10349.71%50.29%53.831231.04%
19953,592,18649.66%50.34%51.121220.46%
19903,510,88549.76%50.24%49.96122-0.00%
19853,510,97950.00%50.00%49.961180.73%
19803,384,75650.21%49.79%48.171141.53%
19753,137,17650.22%49.78%44.641131.53%
19702,908,42150.18%49.82%41.391100.59%
19652,823,65050.20%49.80%40.181070.23%
19602,791,39750.27%49.73%39.72104-0.58%
19552,873,41550.60%49.40%40.8995-0.27%
19502,912,68050.87%49.13%41.45910.00%
Year Population % Male % Female Density (km²) Population Rank Growth Rate
20204,937,78649.64%50.36%70.271240.00%
20255,109,28449.68%50.32%72.711260.69%
20305,248,04149.70%50.30%74.681260.54%
20355,372,13749.73%50.27%76.451250.47%
20405,489,08849.77%50.23%78.111250.43%
20455,595,13249.81%50.19%79.621250.38%
20505,677,61549.85%50.15%80.791250.29%
20555,725,37649.88%50.12%81.471250.17%
20605,738,73649.92%50.08%81.661240.05%
20655,728,36249.97%50.03%81.52126-0.04%
20705,709,84350.05%49.95%81.25126-0.06%
20755,697,17950.15%49.85%81.07126-0.04%
20805,697,78450.23%49.77%81.081260.00%
20855,708,81150.28%49.72%81.241260.04%
20905,717,43150.28%49.72%81.361250.03%
20955,709,85750.25%49.75%81.25126-0.03%
  1. Ireland Central Statistics Office
  2. 2016 Preliminary Census Results
  3. World Population Prospects (2019 Revision) - United Nations population estimates and projections.

    Total population: Estimated to be consistent with the 2011 census and the 2016 census preliminary results, and with estimates of the subsequent trends in fertility, mortality and international migration.

  4. GeoNames Gazetteer