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Revised population and migration estimates and PPSN based data


Ireland continues to have the fastest growing population in the EU according to a CSO release on Population and Migration Estimates for 2007 published today. The April 2006 to April 2007 increase of 2.5 per cent represents the third year in a row in which an annual population increase of over 2 per cent was recorded. Revised migration estimates for
2006 also show that while the number of immigrants increased between 2006 and 2007 the greater increase in the number of emigrants ensured that net migration to April 2007 fell by 4,500.

The release also contains revised population and migration estimates for the inter-censal years 2003 to 2005. The revisions are part of ongoing work by the CSO aimed at accurately measuring migration flows of Irish and non-Irish nationals.

Also released today for the first time is Foreign Nationals: PPSN Allocations and Employment, 2002-2006 - an analysis of PPSN allocations and employer end-of-year (P35) returns for non-Irish nationals. These figures reveal the extent to which those allocated PPSN numbers took up and retained insurable employment over time. The analysis shows that just under half of those allocated a PPSN between 2002 and 2005 had employment activity in 2006. For those allocated a PPSN in the earlier period (i.e. the year 2002) about one in three had some level of insurable employment in 2006.


Comparison of Census 2006 and P35 based estimates of employment

A comparison of previously published data from the 2006 census in relation to employees with the analysis of Revenue P35 end-of-year returns provided in today’s release indicate a high degree of consistency between both data sources. The following table provides a breakdown by broad nationality group.


Broad nationality group
P35 Employment in 2006
Census employees at work 2006
United Kingdom
EU 15 excl Ireland & the UK
EU 14 to EU 25 states
Rest of the World
Total non-Irish nationals


Explanations for the differences between the two data sources are:

  • The figures for PPSN allocations cover the years 2002 to 2005 only. The higher Census figures for UK, EU15 and Rest of the World nationals reflect the fact that a significant proportion of the non-Irish nationals from these countries are likely to have arrived before 2002.
  • On the other hand arrivals from the EU 15 to EU 25 states are heavily concentrated in the 2004-2006 period (i.e. after 1 May 2004 when the ten members States acceded to the EU).
  • The employment activity in 2006, based on the P35 analysis, covers all employment at any time during 2006 (including seasonal workers, students and those who only took up employment in the second half of the year). Census data is a point in time measure taken in April 2006. Factors of this nature would partly explain the lower Census figures for EU15 - EU25 nationals.
  • The P35 employment figures cover all persons who had any insurable employment activity, including students who worked part-time. The Census figures only include persons who identified themselves as being “at work´┐Ż? on a Principal Economic Status basis.

The analysis of the PPSN allocations and the P35 returns clearly shows that a majority of non-Irish nationals receiving PPSN do not remain in the country in the longer term. Accordingly, perceptions of migration flows based solely on the allocations would tend to grossly inflate the movements. In addition, as the above table indicates, the data on migrant flows based on P35 returns is broadly reconcilable with the Census 2006 snapshot of non-Irish nationals who recorded themselves as employees. The reliability of the Census from the point of view of its coverage of the non-Irish national
population is therefore supported by this finding.

For copies of either of the releases contact :

Information Section ext 5021 or

Copies can also be downloaded from the CSO website at

WWW.CSO.IE Census: Population: Releases and Publications

For further information on the above contact:

Adrian Redmond 01-498 4309, Helen Cahill 01-498 4253 or Deirdre Cullen 01-8951334.
Central Statistics Office, Ardee Road, Dublin 6

Central Statistics Office

18 December 2007

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