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Ireland's magic number

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Photo illustration/P. Berndt/Custom Medical Stock Photo/Newscom

(Read caption) Before the recession, Ireland's high rates of birth and immigration contributed to its rapid population growth. But now, the population remains steady.

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During the boom, Ireland had the highest population growth in the EU. In part this was because it had the by far highest birth rate and because of that the highest rate of natural increase, but mainly because of very high net immigration.

After the recession started, the high level of net immigration has been reversed and now Ireland has significant net emigration. However, its population isn't shrinking because the rate of natural increase has been more or less unchanged at the previous high level.

Amazingly, the number of births in the second quarter last year, was exactly the same, 18,844 , as in the second quarter of 2010. I wonder what the odds of that is?

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