The decline of the large Irish family

I came across some new research from TCD on the Irish family which charts its evolution over the decades. The Irish family is more diverse than ever, something we affirmed in 2015 with the marriage equality referendum.

Above I note the evolution of Ireland’s fertility rate, a key social indicator. Our rate is now below 2, suggesting population decline. However, net migration is now positive suggesting overall population growth for the coming years.

Many European countries are not as fortunate, with populations set to decline over the coming decades. Poland has responded with a social welfare benefit paid to the second and subsequent child in each family. A similar scheme for Ireland is neither necessary or appropriate, but it highlights the severity of the problem, particularly in Eastern Europe.

As long as Ireland’s population continues to grow, it serves a foundation for numerous benefits. Growing populations support a growing economy and allow for the efficient delivery of public services.

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