Population growth in Ireland was more than five times the EU average in 2017, new figures have revealed.
The total number of residents in the Republic rose by 53,900 last year to almost 4.84m — an annual increase of 1.1% compared to the EU average of 0.2%.
It was the fourth highest rate of population growth within the EU during 2017, although Ireland still had the highest birth rate of any EU member state with 12.9 births per 1,000 population.
Only Malta, Luxembourg, and Sweden have experienced higher rates of population growth — a factor largely due to the impact of immigration in those countries.
Excluding the impact of immigration, Ireland had the highest rate of natural increase (an excess of births over deaths) in its population in the EU last year, at a time when many other countries are experiencing a decline.
Deaths now outnumber births in 13 EU member states including Germany, Italy, Spain, and Finland, with the EU’s overall natural population falling.
As a result of having the youngest population of all Europeans, Ireland also retained its position as having the lowest death rate in the EU, with 6.3 deaths per 1,000 population last year compared to the EU average of 10.3 deaths per 1,000.
Overall, the population of the EU increased during 2017 from 511.5m to 512.6m – an annual increase of 0.2%.
The CSO has projected that Ireland’s population will continue to grow until 2051 when it will reach almost 6.7m.