From bust to boom: Birth rate here the highest of all EU states despite being at an all-time low
Ireland is in the middle of a baby boom compared to the rest of the EU.
New figures show the country has the highest birth rate of the 28 member states and its population growth last year puts it among the top three.
The Eurostat report on population estimates Ireland's birth rate stood at 12.5 births per 1,000 residents making it the EU's highest.
Sweden, France and the UK all had birth rates around 11 per 1,000, while the lowest rate was in Italy at seven per 1,000.
Ireland also had one of the lowest death rates at six per 1,000 residents, making it the member state where births most outnumbered deaths.
Economist Dan O'Brien said the numbers living here skyrocketed by seven times the EU average during 2018.
In a tweet, he said Ireland still had the highest birth rate in the EU but it's falling sharply and is now at an all-time low. Italy has the lowest rate in the EU, and it continues to drop, he noted.
Economist Alan McQuaid said the total population is around 4.5 million now and will reach five million by 2050.
He said the Government must plan to deal with the fact that Dublin is overpopulated and a robust broadband plan is essential to attract businesses to the regions.
However, he said the rate of population increase will taper off, partly because women are having their children later.
This will mean fewer workers and increased pressure to fund the State and public sector pensions.
Meanwhile, populations increased in 18 EU member states and fell in 10 last year.
The EU population rose by 1.1 million people to 513.5 million. There were more deaths than births so the increase was therefore due to migration.