The Irish Central Statistics Office recently announced that the country’s population had surpassed 5 million for the first time since the Great Famine (1845-49). A notable event in a country whose history and culture have been marked by waves of emigration. This excellent infographic would be a great addition to Shine Bright 1e File 9 The Emerald Isle, Shine Bright LLCER File 20 The Irish Art of Exile, History 1re The Irish Question, or LLCER Terminale novel Brooklyn.
The Central Statistics Office announced that the preliminary results of the 2022 census showed a population of 5,123,536, the first time it has exceeded 5 million since the 1851 census. The Great Famine was caused by potato blight, a fungus which attacked the potato crop. Potatoes were the staple food of many Irish families. However, the actions of British colonial authorities (Ireland was part of the United Kingdom at the time) and (often British) landowners are believed to have worsened the effects of the Famine on the population. During and after the Famine period, there was a major population drop, both through deaths during the famine and forced emigration to try to escape poverty.
The 2022 statistics are all the more impressive because the 1851 census included the six counties which are now Northern Ireland. (The 2021 U.K. Census gave 1.9 million as the Northern Ireland population, also a record high.)
For the Republic, this is the highest population figure since 1841 (6.5 million). The lowest census population figure was in 1961: 2,818,341.
The increase of 361,671 (8%) in 2022 was fairly evenly split between:
- natural increase (births minus deaths): 171,338
- net migration (population increase minus natural increase): 190,333.
The population figures for each census can be found on this page.
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