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Migration: Emigration and Immigration since 1950


This article examines the history of emigration and immigration in Ireland since 1950, noting the effects of the economic environment on both emigration and immigration. It highlights the destinations of Irish emigrants and the reasons behind their departure, as well as the socioeconomic background of those who left. It also discusses the gender and age of Irish emigrants, the impact of the Celtic Tiger on the trends of emigration and immigration, and the shift in immigration to non-European Union (EU) countries. It concludes by noting the difficulty of accepting non-European nationals and the irony of Ireland being a nation of emigrants and yet being reluctant to embrace non-European immigrants.


What has been the pattern of Irish emigration since 1950?
The years following the end of the Second World War witnessed the large-scale movement of Irish emigrants to Britain. The late 1940s and the 1950s constituted a remarkable era of mass emigration. Over 500,000 people left independent Ireland between 1945 and 1960. In the 1980s and 1990s, emigration again became a major feature of life in Ireland.

How has the Irish economy influenced the levels of emigration and immigration?
The Irish economy has had a significant influence on the levels of emigration and immigration. In the early 1950s, when the Irish economy was in a poor state, thousands of young people left Ireland for new lives elsewhere. In the 1970s, the numbers immigrating exceeded the numbers leaving, due mainly to the return home of emigrants who had left in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1980s and 1990s, as a consequence of the rapid economic growth associated with the Celtic Tiger, the inflow again exceeded the exodus.

Where did Irish emigrants travel to in the second half of the 20th century?
From the 1940s on, roughly three out of every four Irish emigrants were destined for Britain, and one out of eight for the United States, with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand accounting for most of the remainder. In the 1980s about one in seven leaving independent Ireland traveled to the United States.

What was the gender differential in Northern Ireland in terms of emigration?
In the 1950s and 1960s, a greater number of males emigrated than females from Northern Ireland, though by the 1980s this gap had narrowed. Throughout the 1990s roughly equal numbers of males and females emigrated from Northern Ireland.

What has been the profile of Irish immigrants since the 1990s?
Returned Irish emigrants were the largest immigrant group throughout the 1990s, although the proportion of non-European Union (EU) nationals increased steadily from 1999 onward. The immigration of large numbers of skilled workers was also significant, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. The arrival of relatively small numbers of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from eastern Europe, Africa, and elsewhere has also generated much public controversy.

AI Comments

πŸ‘ This article provides a comprehensive overview of the history of emigration and immigration in Ireland since 1950. It also highlights the various factors influencing the pattern of emigration and immigration over that time period.

πŸ‘Ž This article does not mention the impact of emigration and immigration on Irish society, such as the economic strain of losing skilled workers or the cultural changes brought on by a growing immigrant population.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about the history of emigration and immigration in Ireland since 1950. It looks at the factors that have contributed to the population changes in both Northern and Southern Ireland, such as the poor economic conditions, the Celtic Tiger, and the Assisted Passage Scheme. It also highlights the destinations of Irish emigrants and the different socioeconomic backgrounds of Irish immigrants and emigrants.

Friend: Wow, that's fascinating. What implications does the article have?

Me: Well, one of the main implications is that economic conditions are a major factor in determining the levels of emigration and immigration. The article also highlights how Irish society has had to adjust to welcoming immigrants from non-EU countries, which has been a difficult process. It also shows that the Irish diaspora is a significant part of the Irish population, with many Irish emigrants having moved to other countries in search of better economic opportunities. Finally, the article highlights the importance of understanding the history of migration in Ireland in order to understand the current population dynamics.

Action items

Technical terms

The process of leaving one's country or region to settle in another.
The process of entering and settling in a new country or region.
Celtic Tiger
A period of rapid economic growth in Ireland from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s.
The dispersion of a people from their original homeland.
Assisted Passage Scheme
A scheme established in 1947 to attract white settlers to Australia by providing assistance toward the cost of the fare, hostel accommodation on arrival, access to public housing, and voting rights within six months.
European Union.

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