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November 13, 2013


Antoin O Lachtnain


You are not comparing like-with like. You are comparing one cohort with the following cohort instead of making comparisons within the cohort.

It is well-understood that the birthrate fell massively between the late seventies and early 90s in Irealnd. This is more than likely the cause of much of the effect that you observe.

If you had included in your analysis a simple set of population pyramids (for example ( This this would have been clear.

The whole premise of your article appears to be wrong as a result. It is not true (or at least you have not established it as fact) that 'there the massive collapse in the key demographic of 15 to 29 years' Similarly, there is no evidence for your assertion that 'we have lost close to a quarter of million young people in the last five years'



The 258.8k 20-24 year olds now were the 295k 15-19 year olds in 2008. So they are 12% down not 31%

Michael Taft

Antoin, Dara - Thanks for the comments. That a substantial part of the fall has been due to demographic factors is not in question. That a substantial part of the fall is due to emigration is, likewise, not in question. Nor is the fact that 160,000 15-24 year olds have emigrated in the last five years (40% of total emigration). Had emigration stayed at the same level as pre-crisis, the fall in population would have been far less (I would estimate approx. 60 percent of the fall is due to recession-related emigration but this is only an estimate).

As to the comparisons - all I did was compare an age cohort in one year with that of another year. This is a valid exercise when tracking the potential costs of growing age dependency. Emigration is not helping.

It will be interesting to come back to these numbers in a couple of years. I would venture that youth emigration will continue (in 2013 it was still rising in the 15-24 age cohort). With this falling and the over-65s rising fast, we are storing up considerable trouble for ourselves in the future - never mind the impact on those forced into emigration.

Seamus Coffey

Between 1989 and 1993 there were 258,000 births in Ireland. In 2013 there were 259,000 people aged between 20 and 24. Seems about even, no?

As noted in an earlier comment the birth rate dropped significantly in Ireland. In the five years to 1984 there were 348,000 births. As the figure above shows by 1993 the five year sum was 90,000 lower.

In 2008 there were 373,000 people aged 20-24. Between 1984 and 1988 there were 301,000 births. Where did the extra 72,000 come from? Mainly inward migration.

As Michael shows, by 2013 the 20-24 age cohort had "only" 259,000 in it. Where did they go?

We can explain a lot of the reduction with a couple of factors. The fall in the birth rate is one. In many cases the inward migration was reversed as immigrants re-emigrated. And of course if those who immigrated stayed here they all got older. None of the immigrants in the 20-24 age category in 2008 could be in that category in 2013.

Saying "we have lost close to a quarter of million young people in the last five years" is a little wide of the mark. In the case of Irish nationals they weren't born so we never had them to lose and in the case of immigrants many of them just got older.

Yes, there are massive emigration flows, and yes thousands of young people have emigrated. In the past five years total net outward migration has been -120,000. That number is plenty bad enough.

Michael Taft

Seamus - I won't dispute the use of the word 'lost'. The point here is the significant downward pressure caused by emigration in an age cohort already impacted by demographics (which is why I presented two sets of data). And while we should be advantaged in a growing cohort of under-14s, this is likely to be limited if not reversed by the continuing high levels of emigration. In the 15-24 cohort, the net trend is still upwards though 2013 shows a tentative sign of topping out. However, its too early to call that as previous years showed upward/downward movement in other cohorts. To what extent will it remain high? To what extent will the unemployment rate be suppressed owing to emigration? And to what extent we are looking at a substantial increase in age dependency - especially as the over 65s have increased by 17% in the last 5 years? We may be looking back at this period and find we lost a considerable advantage - primarily owing to emigration.

Owen Callan

This is awful analysis lads. If you compare like with like, ie compare 15-19 in 2008 with 20-24 in 2013, you'll find almost every single age bracket has suffered a reduction in numbers. You are using demographic (ie people are born, people age and people die) data to get answers to an emmigration question. Unsurprisingly, you get an incorrect answer.

The Dork of Cork

Its just the banking system scaling up....the banking system becomes even more centralized and people obviously follow the credit tokens - As Gilmore said we ran out of money but incorrectly said we as a COUNTRY ran out of money tokens - this is what banks always do when nations decide they are jurisdictions.....

Christ - we should be able to grasp this given what happened in the past union.

We are in the 1820s phase now.....20 or 30 more years and many people can be safely wiped off the books without a banking crisis.

Michael Taft

Owen - thanks for that. I didn't suggest that the fall in over 200,000 in the youth demographic was down to emigration. I specifically separated the two - hence the different graphics. I now realise, however, that reading the post may have created assumptions which is not in the post nor what I intended. However, let's be clear - with 160,000 young people (15-24) emigrating in the last five years (40% of all emigration)- that is the question and the answer itself. That almost every single-year age bracket increased over the last five years, with the exception of those age categories hit hardest by emigration; well, that tells its own story.

The Dork of Cork

On a European scale Ireland is a extreme conduit economy used by the banks to manage(increase) scarcity.
(the easiest mechanism in a neo liberal rather then war economy is the production & consumtion of cars and houses which destroy capital (oil) at the most efficient rate possibe)

Using C. H. Douglas words Ireland is a more extreme zone of "economic sabotage" where goods are produced on a European scale that cannot be consumed without huge externalties forced on the workforce.....they end up doing pointless jobs to access scarce money tokens such as the various "switch" salesmen in former monopoly utilities.

The lack of effective domestic production ,distribution & consumption at a local level is a obvious indicator of this.

"The economic effect of charging all the waste in industry to the consumer so curtails his purchasing power that an increasing percentage of the product of industry must be exported. The effect of this on the worker is that he has to do many times the amount of work which should be necessary to keep him in the highest standard of living, as a result of an artificial inducement to produce things he does not want, which he cannot buy, and which are of no use to the attainment of his internal standard of well-being"

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