The population of the island of Ireland in 2012 was approximately 6.4 million comprising 4.58 million in the Republic of Ireland with another 1.8 million in Northern Ireland. Although this is a significant growth over recent years, it is still some way below the record high of the early 1840s.

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  • The population of the island of Ireland in 2012 was approximately 6.4 million comprising 4.58 million in the Republic of Ireland with another 1.8 million in Northern Ireland. Although this is a significant growth over recent years, it is still some way below the record high of the early 1840s. From 1780-1840 Ireland experienced rapid population growth, rising from about 3 million in 1780 to over 8 million by 1840. In 1841 the population of the area now covering the Republic of Ireland was over 6.5 million people. The subsequent Great Famine and the emigration it caused had a dramatic effect, so that by 1871 the 26-county population had dropped by over a third to four million, and by 1926 had reduced further to three million. It held firm around three million until the early 1970s when the population began to rise again. Future predictions are for the population to continue to rise until 2031 when it is predicted to be just over five million. The Republic of Ireland is one of the few remaining developed economies to have growth of this scale. Below are some statistics to illustrate the rise, fall and rise again of the population since 1841. The statistics also illustrate a massive population shift from the west to the east of the country and increasing urbanisation. Counties such as Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal and Leitrim have become depopulated while counties surrounding Dublin including Wicklow, Kildare, Louth and Meath have seen rapid population growth in recent years. (en)
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  • The population of the island of Ireland in 2012 was approximately 6.4 million comprising 4.58 million in the Republic of Ireland with another 1.8 million in Northern Ireland. Although this is a significant growth over recent years, it is still some way below the record high of the early 1840s. (en)
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  • Irish population analysis (en)
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