Thomas Molloy: We love making babies -- but they come at a price
LOOKING at demographic trends is usually about as exciting as watching chess -- but Ireland's turbo-charged population explosion makes the demographic trends here resemble Formula One. Our relish for making babies, the influx of foreigners and new longevity of our older citizens are all conspiring to accelerate population growth at rates seldom seen outside Africa and Asia.
Yesterday's release of preliminary figures from this year's census caught out the experts, who had assumed that all these trends were moderating quickly. To be sure, there are some signs of a slowdown but with a population just shy of 4.6 million, we now have slightly over 340,000 more people than five years ago. This is around 100,000 more than many demographers had predicted.
It is as if the Government unexpectedly discovered the equivalent of the entire population of Co Kilkenny hiding underneath its bed.