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Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project Policy & Outreach Officer Niall Foster attended the launch of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI)‘s latest report, ‘State of our young nation: A report into the lives of Irish 18-29-year-olds.’ Released this week, this report offers in-depth insights on the financial, social, and other substantial challenges young people face, alongside their views on opportunities ahead; from housing and mental health, to work and study, and, of utmost relevance to our work, considerations about staying or leaving Ireland.

Policy & Outreach Officer Niall Foster attended the NYCI report launch in Dublin on Tuesday, 16 April 2024.

Report Findings

The report (which you can read in its entirety here) found that housing and cost-of-living were the chief concerns of Irish adults under thirty, with 67% and 62%, respectively, of those surveyed, citing these issues. The report also indicates that half of this cohort can be classified as having low mental wellbeing – see the snapshot illustrating other key takeaways from the research, which NYCI conducted in partnership with Ipsos B&A.

Key findings from the NYCI’s latest report (source: NYCI).

Crucially, the report highlighted how these concerns can prompt young people in Ireland to consider leaving the country. When asked ‘which of the following has happened to you in the past 12 months?’, 19% of Irish young people state that they have considered/or are planning to emigrate.

Interestingly, the incidence of this sentiment proved consistent across all ages surveyed, showing that emigration is being equally considered by those in their late twenties and early twenties. Emigration is something that is also being equally considered by both middle class and working class young people in Ireland and equally amongst men and women.

Casting domestic challenges as push factors, the report states, “The housing crisis is a key contributor to this renewed consideration of emigration from Ireland. It’s having a significant impact on how young people feel about the feasibility of a future life in Ireland.”

One participant, aged 27, summarised her situation in the report: “I never thought about leaving the country until last year, and now me and my partner have decided to go to New Zealand. The housing situation is so bad here I have had a lot of friends leave. I didn’t think we would be next, but unfortunately we are.


Our Response

Crosscare Irish Diaspora Support Project welcomes this study’s publication, as it empirically corroborates our first-hand insights from supporting Irish citizens moving abroad through pre-departure webinars, guides, and more. While the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures indicate the numbers leaving and returning to Ireland are roughly equal, there are certainly strong indicators for emigration numbers to continue (particularly among young people), including the record number of Irish working holiday visas for Australia granted in the year to July 2023.

Although we work with members of the diaspora of all ages at all stages of migration, younger emigrants have emerged as one of our strategic priorities on the back of this observed trend. The need for free, reliable sources of information for young Irish considering a move abroad has prompted us to enhance our information offerings on working holidays (including webinars and our ‘Know Before You Go‘ series), pivot to TikTok, and more.

At the heart of our approach to Irish diaspora support is an ethos of non-judgment: we do not promote nor dissuade emigration/return, rather we endeavour to equip Global Irish to make informed migration decisions in their own best interest. We continue to strongly encourage preparation for any Irish citizens moving abroad. We remain committed to providing critical supports to Irish citizens who wish to move abroad. However, we are dismayed by the experiences of the housing and cost of living crises, cited in this NYCI report, and the challenges these crises present for Irish citizens returning to Ireland and those who do not want to leave in the first place.

As Irish emigration is a journey that begins in Ireland, it is critical to listen to the perspectives of young people on domestic issues that influence migration decision-making. Propelled by this latest report, we will continue to amplify these voices and advocate for policy solutions on behalf of the people we are privileged to serve.

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