Saturday, 26 September 2009

Those CSO migration figures: A health warning

An Saoi: Our friends in the CSO have given us at long last their estimates of migration in the year to April last. The figures reflect the return of net emigration, but not to the extent that I would suggest is really happening.

A quick perusal of the tables raises many questions. For example, it suggests in both 2008 and 2009 periods there was net immigration from the United States. Does that tally with your personal experience? Because it certainly does not tally with that of anyone I have spoken to on the subject. However, without some real figures from other sources, we must accept them. I decided instead to look at the UK figures, where there are figures available. Here, the CSO suggests there was small net emigration.

I decided to do some digging and compare figures. The UK National Statistics office provided me with the following number of adult Irish people whoobtained National Insurance Nos. (NiNo)

But, these figures do not include anyone moving from Ireland to the UK who already has a National Insurance Number, or students moving to the UK who apply for a health card.

The ability of the CSO to accurately estimate migratory flows in a country which does not oblige its residents to register their place of abode is akin to going into a boxing ring with both hands tied behind your back. The Lithuanian CSO reviewed their own estimates of migratory trends, and felt that they had massively underestimated population movements (see Tables here). Now, if they cannot accurately estimate the figures in a country where registration of residence is obligatory, how are the CSO here to do so? The Lithuanians can tell us the number of little Litthuanians born each year in Ireland, but our friends in Skehard Road, Cork, cannot.

A comparison with inward migration and the issuance of PPS Numbers to UK Nationals (over 15) in Ireland also throws up discrepancies. The most recent CSO report on the issue is available here. A word of warning however: issuance of PPS Nos. is not directly comparable with National Insurance Numbers in the UK. A number is, for example, required when a person takes an inheritance, however small, under an Irish will - even though not resident in the State.

The publication of the report is to be welcomed, but the figures should come with a serious health warning.


Slí Eile said...

interesting points. My Lithuanian isn't too good. Do you have an English language version of their national stats office website? Migration, is clearly, more difficult to estimate than it used to be and your point abougt registration is well made.

Anonymous said...

The most appalling article I read this year (in a year of truely appalling news) was about the treatment of low wage workers in Dubai, and more to the point how Westerns based in Dubai quickly became immune to the plight of those 'beneath' them on the wage scale. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly progressives and Labour parties rush to sign onto the notion of globalisation but consistently fail to analyse and measure the side affects with regard to wage earners that stem from the globalisation phenomena. This is especially disappointing as Progressives can usually analyse any topic to within an inch of its life.

Imho, the Irish govt must continue with it efforts at social egineering by bringing in low wage workers to prop up profits of Irish indigenous industries. The CSO population stats are indecipherable and incomplete because this is what the govt wants. Our govt, along with many others, have better sources of information through informal contacts with businesses, business lobbies and detailed tax data which allows them to confirm the health of their migration policies.

On a side note, I can't help wondering if the dynamics of emmigration from Ireland won't change in the years to come. I spoke with a mate who returned to New York during this recession. I asked him when he's returning to Limerick and was surprised by his answer, especially as he owns a home in the town. As a plumbing engineer he's hoping that some infratsture projects that are badly needed across the US will materialise. He also added that Ireland was becoming pretty much like any other Western country these days. You work long hours for five days and spend the other two shopping. There was an erosion of 'cultural' differention. Bar his mother and family, who lead independent lives these days, he felt there wasn't any overt attraction to Ireland these days - it comes down to income and expenditure - a shopping centre is a shopping centre. In fact, he claims he feels more Irish among the Irish diaspora than he felt in Ireland. Strange but interesting. I wonder if the people "taking a year off" in such places as Australia won't come to the same conclusions as my mate.

An Saoi said...

Slí Eile

Brú ar an EN sa chúinne. Tá ceangal anseo

Níl leagan Bhéarla do gach rud ar an suíomh.

An Saoi said...

Tá brón orm, tír mícheart!