IRELAND’S population has reached its highest level in more than 140 years.
With a booming economy, buoyant job market and excellent quality of life Ireland has seen a surge of people move here.
The nation’s high wages and low taxes have meant it has become the most popular country in the European Union for migrant workers.
And now Ireland’s population is the fastest growing in Europe. The number of people living in Ireland has risen to 4.13million in April of this year.
The spurt has been attributed to a natural population increase along with an influx of immigrants. New migrants are helping to drive the Celtic Tiger and sustain the economy.
And the influx of new workers is the life-blood of the Irish economy, vital in sustaining the country’s economic growth — according to a report published by the European Citizen Action Service.
Ireland’s own Central Statistics Office (CSO) says the population has increased by 87,000 in the past year alone.
In the same period only 16,600 people left the country — the lowest number to emigrate since records began in 1987.
In the year to April 2005, 70,000 people migrated to Ireland which is the highest number to move to the country in the 18 years since the CSO began monitoring annual migration figures.
More than a third of immigrants were from the 10 accession states which joined the European Union in May 2004.
Some 17 per cent of migrants were Polish while 9 per cent came from Lithuania The combined effect of a natural population increase along with migration are the two main reasons the population has hit its highest since 1861.
With its growing population a booming economy has followed making Ireland the second richest country in the world per head of population after Luxembourg.
And poverty in Ireland has plunged by more than half since 1994 courtesy of the Celtic Tiger.
Even those on low incomes have seen their standard of living improve over the past 10 years.
Experts predict Ireland’s burgeoning economy is set to remain buoyant as long as the country continues to be a popular migrant destination.