Archive for March 26th, 2010

It is with reference to the month of April each year that the CSO issue their population estimates which include births, deaths, immigration and emigration in the previous 12 months and we must wait another couple of months before we will know what happened between April 2009 when the State had 4,459,300 souls and today. However the latest QNHS and statistics from the CSO do point to the lowest increase in our population since 1990 which has consequences for housing demand (and in the economics world of price elasticity of demand, for house prices).

Firstly what does the latest QNHS actually say? It tells us that the population in the 15-64 age range declined from 3,531,500 to 3,521,000 from the end of March 2009 to the end of December 2009. The population estimate from the CSO’s website database for April 2009 showed that there were an estimated 288,100 people in the 10-14 age group and 207,500 in the 60-64 age group. If one assumes that the ages are spread evenly, then one would expect 1/5th of the 288,100 aged 10-14 to be aged 14 and therefore turning 15 in the present year (ie 57,600) and that 1/5th of those aged 60-64 would be turning 65 in the present year (ie 41,500) and that the 15-64 age group should have increased by 16,100 (57,600 less 41,500) so the 3,531,500 should have increased to 3,547,600. Instead it is at 3,521,000. Where are the missing 26,600? Emigrated I would assume together with their under 15 children (1 per 3.5 adults aged 15-64 according to the 2009 CSO population estimate – I am assuming that they have abandoned their 65 and older relatives!). This would indicate net outward migration of 26,600 15-64 year olds and 7,600 under 14s or 34,200 in total for the 9 months to the end of December 2009. If we assume the same rate for Q1 for 2010 then the net outward migration would be 45,600 (34,200 divided by 3 and multiplied by 4).

What happened with organic population growth? Well the CSO has confirmed that we are busy maintaining one of the highest birth rates in the developed world (17.3 per 1000) and perhaps just as surprising we still have one of the lowest death rates in the developed world (6/1000) giving a natural population increase rate of 11.3/1000.

Therefore the 4,459,300 would be increased by births of 77,146 and reduced by deaths of 26,756 and net outward migration of 45,600 and our population in April is estimated to have increased to 4,464,090.

Given the reported statistic that over 10,000 dwellings were constructed last year and if we apply an obsolescence rate of 0.5% to the housing stock of 2m and if we assume we have 2.7 souls per household, we would need to call upon less than 2,000 dwellings from the overhang in supply, a tiny proportion even if you accept the CIF estimate of 35,000 vacant new homes.

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