500,000 foreign nationals are now calling Ireland home
MORE than 500,000 of the 4.5million people living in this country are non-Irish nationals, most of whom are younger and better educated than their Irish counterparts.
The number of non-Irish people living here at the time of the last census almost trebled in the last nine years -- rising by 143pc.
The majority of the "new Irish" hail from Poland, the UK and Latvia, though a total of 199 nationalities are represented here.
New figures from the Central Statistics Office have revealed that there were a total of 544,357 non-Irish nationals living in Ireland in April 2011, up from 224,261 in 2002.
Polish people represent the largest group, with their population increasing massively, from just 2,124 in 2002 to 122,585 in 2011.
People from the UK are the second largest group, with 112,259 living here in 2011, up from 103,476 in 2002.
The new CSO profile on Migration and Diversity, published yesterday, shows how, despite the recession, 53,267 people arrived in Ireland in the year prior to April 2011, of which 33,340 were non-Irish nationals, mostly from Poland and the UK. More than two-thirds of these were between the ages of 15 and 34.
However, the statistics do not reveal how many non-Irish nationals may since have been forced to leave the country as a result of the recession.
The CSO found growth in the number of non-Irish nationals has continued since 2006, albeit at a slower pace. The average age of non-Irish nationals in 2011 was 32, compared with 36 for Irish nationals.
Most non-Irish national households consist of a couple with children, at 34pc of households, very close to that of Irish-headed households at 35pc.
The study found most of the non-Irish nationals live in Dublin city, followed by Fingal and Co Cork. Leitrim and Longford had the lowest numbers.
Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician at the CSO, said the report showed how Ireland had become an increasingly diverse society over the past decade. "The different nationalities that make up the population of Ireland have an increasingly important impact on the economy and society," she said.
A technical or vocational qualification was held by 8.3pc of Irish nationals, compared with 16.2pc of non-Irish nationals. At third level, the proportion of non-Irish nationals with a degree or higher was 31.3pc, compared with 27.1pc of Irish nationals.
The overall population of Ireland given in the last census is 4,574,888.