If the recent trends of high net inward migration and relatively
high fertility rates were to broadly continue, then Ireland's
population - which, according to the 2006 census, stood at
4.25 million - would reach 5 million by 2014.
This can be seen from a report on population and labour force
projections just published by the CSO.
However, with zero net migration and declining fertility,
the population is projected to reach just 4.9 million by 2041.
Population and Labour Force Projections 2011-2041
presents population projections, based on a number of contrasting
scenarios relating to future trends in fertility, mortality
and migration, for the period 2011 to 2041 and Labour Force
projections for 2011 - 2021.
The migration assumptions are the most important factor in
determining the projected population outcomes - the three
chosen range from zero (M0) to a sustained high net inward
flow of almost 40,000 per annum (M1) over the projection period.
The CSO publication reveals that, irrespective of the combination
of assumptions used, there will be between 1.3 and 1.4 million
persons aged 65 years and over in 2041, compared with 460,000
in 2006. This implies that 20 to 25 per cent of the population
will be aged 65 years and over in 2041, compared with 11 per
cent in 2006.
The population aged 5-12 years - corresponding to children
of primary school-going age - is projected to increase by
at least 10 per cent in the next decade, even with zero net
migration and falling fertility rates. However, if net immigration
continues at close to its current high rate and fertility
remains at 1.9 children per woman, then the number of primary
school children would increase from its present level of over
450,000 to 650,000 by 2025.
With assumed zero net migration (M0), the population of working
age (15-64 years) is projected to increase by 0.4 per cent
per annum in the period to 2021. The corresponding annual
increases under M2 and M1 would be 1.4 per cent and 1.7 per
Applying assumed labour force participation rates to the
working age population yields labour force projections for
the next fifteen years. Under M0, the labour force is projected
to grow by just 13,000 annually in the period to 2021, compared
with 61,000 annually between 1996 and 2006. The corresponding
annual increases under M2 and M1 would be 40,000 and 50,000
The female share of the labour force is projected to remain
unchanged at just over 42 per cent in the period to 2021.
To download Population and Labour Force Projections 2011-2041