Friday 9 December 2016

Emigration is just part of the story in decline of our twentysomethings

Published 04/06/2015 | 02:30

Enda Kenny with young Fine Gaelers in 2009.
Enda Kenny with young Fine Gaelers in 2009.
'Thankfully, the jobless desperation that forced people on to boats in the past is less common today. The State’s statisticians find that just one in five emigrants in the 2009-14 period was unemployed'

Ireland's young are disappearing. Since 2008, the number of twentysomethings living in the Republic has declined by almost a quarter of a million. This amounts to the loss of almost one third of the 20 to 29-year-old age cohort in just six years. Never in this State's history have people in their twenties made up as small a share of the total population.

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A shrinking of this age group on such a scale - something that usually only happens in times of war, famine or plague - can be expected to have social, political and economic consequences aplenty.

I'll return to these many consequences in a future column, but today let's focus on the reasons it has happened, not least because they are not what you might expect.

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