An estimated 60,000 Irish citizens either moved abroad or returned to Ireland in the year to April 2023, according to the latest Population and Migration Estimates released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). These estimates include revised figures for the period between 2017 and 2022, and show that emigration of Irish citizens has surpassed return for the second year in a row.
Whilst these numbers are relatively close, with just 900 more people leaving than returning, there is speculation that post-pandemic Ireland is experiencing an increase in emigration. Ireland’s current housing crisis is often cited as a key driver.
Between 2017 and 2021, Ireland experienced consistently strong levels of return migration. Somewhat unsurprisingly, these figures rose further during the COVID-19 pandemic and during this time, Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project (formerly part of Crosscare Migrant Project) assisted many people returning home in crisis and in need of additional support.
The number of Irish citizens emigrating decreased over the pandemic period, with just 21,400 Irish citizens estimated to have emigrated in 2021. COVID-related travel restrictions and the closing of borders in traditional emigrant destinations such as Australia contributed to this. In the last two years, however, we have once again seen an uptick in emigration, with the figures for 2023 estimating that 30,500 Irish people emigrated – the highest number since 2016.
Working alongside our Global Irish partners, we offer practical pre-departure information to young, intending emigrants to help them make informed migration decisions and connect with Irish supports abroad. Additionally, we continue to provide vital support to Irish people returning to Ireland, particularly those in need of additional supports. This work remains an integral part of our mission to support Irish citizens and their family members at all stages of their migration journey.
To read the full CSO Population and Migration Estimates (April 2023) visit cso.ie.