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Components of Population Change

Census 2022 Results

CSO statistical publication, , 11am
Census Results 2022 Branding

This publication contains preliminary data from Census 2022 as published in June 2022, which has now been superseded.  To view the final data with complete and up-to-date Census 2022 information, please refer to the Census 2022 Main Results publications. 

Components of Population Change

Increase in net inward migration

The drivers of population change are natural increase (births minus deaths) and net migration (immigration minus emigration). Births and deaths are registered which allows the calculation of natural increase between 2016 and 2022. Net migration can therefore be estimated as the residual of subtracting natural increase from the population change between censuses.

The total population increase between Census 2016 and 2022 was 361,671. Natural increase made up 171,338 of the change. The estimate for Net Migration therefore is 190,333.

Figure 3.1 below is a graphical representation of the average annual migration and the average annual natural increase for intercensal periods between 1981 and 2022. Between 2016 and 2022 there was an average annual net inflow of 31,722 persons compared with an average outflow of 4,934 persons per year in the intercensal period between 2011 - 2016. The average annual natural increase between 2016 and 2022 was 28,556 persons compared with 39,656 between 2011 and 2016. 

Intercensal PeriodNatural IncreaseNet migration Population Change
1981 - 198633824-1437719448
1986 - 199123849-26834-2985
1991 - 199618413166020074
1996 - 2002228732564748519
2002 - 2006328294783380661
2006 - 2011452222445869681
2011 - 201639656-493434723
2016 -2022285563172260279

Users should note that net migration in this publication incorporates the effect of non-migratory movements such as visitors in the State on Census Night or Irish residents temporarily abroad. Migration estimates should be interpreted with caution until a greater level of analysis can be undertaken on the final census results in 2023. Analysis of key demographic variables such as age, sex and country of citizenship are required for a more detailed understanding of migration trends in Ireland.

Net migration by county

All counties experienced an increase in net migration over the six-year period between 2016 and 2022.

Map 3.1 illustrates that the largest inward migration occurred in Dublin (+46,559), Cork (+20,892) and Meath (+14,921).

Monaghan (+1,353), Kilkenny (+1,756) and Offaly (+2,003) were the three counties that experienced the lowest inward migration.

Map 3.1 Estimated net migration, 2022

View this table on PxStat:

By deducting the natural increase in the population for each county from the corresponding population change it is possible to derive county net migration figures. These figures represent movements between counties within Ireland in addition to the movement of persons into and out of Ireland.

Net migration per thousand

Average annual net migration per thousand persons provides some insight into the extent of movement of persons into and out of a county between censuses relative to its size.

Longford recorded an average annual net inward migration of 16 persons per 1,000 of the population between 2016 and 2022, the highest in the country.

The next highest was Meath with 12 persons per 1,000, closely followed by Leitrim with 11 persons per 1,000 of the population.

Kilkenny had the lowest rate of net inward migration with 3 persons per 1,000. 

Donegal and Monaghan were the next lowest counties with an average annual net inflow of 4 persons per 1,000. This contrasts with the intercensal period between 2011-2016 when Donegal experienced an average annual net outflow of 8 persons per 1,000 and Monaghan experienced an outflow of 4 persons per 1,000 of population.

The relative scale of both natural increase and net migration of the population for each county, is illustrated in Figure 3.2 below.

Natural increase by county

Kildare and Meath had the highest average annual natural increase gaining 9 persons per 1,000 of population per year between 2016 and 2022. This was followed by Laois, Dublin, Westmeath and Longford with an average natural increase of 7 persons per 1,000 of population per year.

In Dublin, Fingal had the highest natural increase with 11 persons per 1,000 of population. This was followed by South Dublin with an average annual natural increase of 9 persons per 1,000 of population.

Mayo and Kerry had the lowest average annual natural increase, both gaining 3 persons per 1,000 of population. The data on the natural increase is illustrated in Figure 3.3 below.

Natural increase - Persons (Number)Average annual rates per 1,000 - Natural increase (Number)
Dublin 567836.90373163650859