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CSO statistical release, 12 December 2013, 11am

Regional Population Projections


Greater Dublin Area the main winner if past patterns of internal migration return

Figure 1 Actual and projected population for 2011 and 2031 under M2F2 and M3F2 Traditional scenarios
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The Greater Dublin Area will see its population increase by just over 400,000 by 2031 if internal migration patterns return to the traditional pattern last observed in the mid-1990s. This increase would account for two thirds of the total projected population growth in the state over this period under the M2F2 scenario (613,000).

Alternatively, a modified 2011 internal migration pattern of more focused net inflow into Dublin would result in Dublin absorbing a greater share of this GDA growth, increasing by 286,000 of the total projected growth compared with just 110,000 in the Mid-East.

Results from the 2011 Census showed a return to a small net inflow into Dublin marking a change from patterns observed in 2002 and 2006 when Dublin witnessed a large net outflow to the neighbouring regions. The census also showed a fall in the total number of movers between regions from 76,182 in 2006 to just 54,246 in 2011.

The main findings of the regional population projections are:

  • The population of Dublin is projected to increase by between 96,000 and 286,000 depending on the internal migration pattern used, while the population of the Mid-East is set to increase by between 78,000 and 144,000.
  • Under the M2F2 Traditional scenario all regions apart from Dublin and the Mid-East will lose population to internal migration. However, under the same scenario the population will grow in all regions due to natural increase.  This is most noticeable in the Border region with projected births of 123,000 and a population increase of just 18,000, and the West which shows projected births of 97,000 and a population increase of 15,000.
  • The West’s population is projected to decline under the M3F2 scenario regardless of the internal migration pattern applied, while the Border is set to decline under M3F2 for both the Traditional and Modified scenarios.  The only other region projected to show a fall in population is the Mid-West under the scenario M3F2 Modified.

This release contains projections for the eight Regional Authority areas for 2016-2031. The assumptions used in relation to regional fertility, mortality trends and external migration from and to each region are consistent with those used at national level and published in April 2013. Three internal migration scenarios are examined, namely, “Recent”, “Traditional” and “Modified” (see section on Assumptions below).

Of the six scenarios in the national projections only M2F2 and M3F2 are considered for the regional projections. This results in six variants for the regional data, namely M2F2 for Recent, Traditional and Modified, and M3F2 for Recent, Traditional and Modified. The analysis in the following pages concentrates mainly on the M2F2 Traditional variant which combines a slow return to net inward migration with steadily falling fertility and a return to the traditional (1996) pattern of internal migration by 2016.