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    Columnist tackles emigration stats

    By Noreen Bowden | August 28, 2008

    An article in the Irish Independent aims at unpacking some of the information contained in the emigration statistics that have been published in recent days. The CSO’s recently published figures, which say that 45,000 people emigrated in the year ending April 2008, do not go into detail on the nationality of the emigrants. Indo columnist Brendan Keenan offers an interesting analysis, suggesting that emigration never went away, so it is inaccurate to call higher emigration numbers a ‘return’ to emigration.

    Here’s part of his take on the matter:

    The best clues as to what is happening so far come from the destinations of recent emigrants. Of the 45,000 who left, 9,000 went to the EU-12 of newer member states. It is a reasonable assumption that most of these were natives of those states. Over 14,000 went to the rest of the EU — half of them to the UK. It is difficult to know what the breakdown there would have been.

    Only 2,000 went to the USA. It is a firmer guess that most of the 20,000 who went to the “rest of the world” were Irish. This is because over half of them went to Australia/New Zealand — a favourite destination for Irish students on temporary visas.

    Go back to the boom year of 2005 and emigration was just 29,000. Again almost half of those went to the “rest of the world,” although, naturally, the total was much less than last year’s number. There were hardly any “emigrants” to the EU-12 in 2005 — the first year they were counted — but 34,000 arrived.

    While there has been little change in the number of emigrants aged 15-24 (mostly Irish?), the outflow of those in the key 25-44 group rose from 9,000 five years ago to 20,000 in 2008. There must be significant forced emigration already in there.

    See the entire article on the Irish Independent’s website.

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