For a country on this planet that has been uniquely affected by emigration – just take a look above at how our population has declined whilst our neighbours in the UK have seen their population grow strongly – it is deeply regrettable that Ireland doesn’t have any robust means for measuring emigration. We saw when the most recent Census was published last year that the annual intercensal estimates of emigration and immigration produced by the Central Statistics Office were seriously wrong – the CSO annual estimates indicated net inward migration of 29,000 between 2006 and 2011, but the more accurate Census 2011 showed 116,000. It is a topic that has been discussed on here from time to time, and you will be pleased to learn that the CSO has now started using a variety of information sources which should dramatically improve the accuracy of the annual estimates. And on 27th September, 2012 we should get the first of the new improved estimates, with the release of population estimates for the year ending April 2012.
On Tuesday this week, the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson asked An Taoiseach Enda Kenny about the inaccuracy in the migration statistics collated by the CSO, and about the steps taken by the CSO to improve the accuracy in future estimates. An Taoiseach responded that with effect from the publication of the next annual estimate which will be next Thursday, the statistics will benefit from increased data collection and checking which will include reference to work permits issued overseas to Irish nationals and PPS numbers issued in Ireland.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Taoiseach the actual net migration to this State between April 2006 and April 2011; the estimated intercensal estimate of net migration between those same two dates and the reason for the difference; the steps that have been taken by the Central Statistics Office to improve the accuracy of its intercensal estimates.
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny: Net migration for the period 2006 to 2011 was 116,000. This was derived as the difference between the total usually resident population as measured at both censuses less the natural increase in the population (that is the births less the deaths) for the intervening period.
The preliminary estimate of net migration over the 2006 to 2011 period, published as part of the annual population estimates series, was 29,000, giving a difference of 87,000 compared with the census figure.
To put the difference in context it is important to bear in mind that the estimated gross migration flows over this inter-censal period account for about one-sixth of the total 2011 population.
The principal source of information for the inter-censal estimates of both immigration and emigration is the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). The published estimates, which are classified by sex, broad age group, origin and destination, and nationality are subject to sampling variability.
A revised series of inter-censal population estimates will be published on 27th September. This will incorporate data from a number of sources, such as:
a more detailed analysis of the number of Personal Public Service (PPS) numbers allocated to non-Irish nationals in a given year who still had either employment (P35) or social welfare activity the following year; census results on one year inflows by age and sex, and the recorded years of arrival of immigrants.
Revisions to emigration data will incorporate details of work permits issued to Irish nationals in respect of a number of destinations including Australia, US, Canada and New Zealand. In addition, the number of National Insurance numbers (equivalent to PPS numbers) issued to Irish nationals in the UK will be incorporated in the revisions.
This new analysis will form part of ongoing work aimed at improving the methodology used to measure migration.
The next issue of the Population and Migration Estimates to be published on 27th September 2012 will provide estimates of the population for April 2012 along with estimated immigration and emigration in the year to April 2012, and also revised estimates for immigration, emigration and total population for the years 2007-2011.