I have been studying Economics as a major of my arts degree for the past three years and, being able to combine my set of data skills which I have developed in Economics for the past three years and visualisation techniques I have acquired in DH, to deliver an argument and reach a logical conclusion, made this assignment very fascinating. Coming from an Economic background, I’m extremely interested in everyday data, the study of how people use resources and the reasons behind decision making. The first dataset I have chosen and find very interesting to analyse is the Population and the changes in Ireland in the past 15 years. Population in Ireland has certainly been a trend that has changed numerous of times in this country, certainly in the past decade. There are many key components that come to mind when you think of population. Such as, emigration, death rates, birth rates and immigration. In my opinion immigration played a vital role in Irish population figures since early 2000. Which I hope to prove in this blog using stats from the Organisation for Economical Co-Operation and development (OECD) and Central Statistics Office (CSO) and using various visualisation tools to support my argument about Irish population figures during the years 2002 to 2014. However key events such as the Celtic tiger, which was regarded as the rapid economical growth which took place from the early 1990’s to the mid 2000’s and the Irish recession which was the economic downturn post 2008, certainly had immediate effects on immigration in Ireland.
This was originally meant to be a group project but last minute changes meant I did this project on my own. I thought this would make it more challenging, however, collecting all this data on my own meant it was more precise and it was something I enjoyed doing but was also use to, in many previous assignments in my Economic lectures. Firstly, I gathered all my information on the population in Ireland from 2002 to 2014 from the OECD. I used the annual total growth as a percentage of the population as I believe that would give me a more precise and easy to read data. Once I gathered all my information I then used a visualisation tool called Datamatic.io which is funded by google DNI initiative and very easy to use. It’s also partly free and if you have a gmail account, you can just access it through that without signing up or registering which is very beneficial. Following the collection of my data from the OECD, I then used a multiple lines chart to visualise and present this data as shown below.
As shown in my graph above from 2002 to 2003 there is a small decrease from 1.82% to 1.601% and from 2003 to 2004 a small increase from 1.601% to 1.641%. However, after 2004 there was a rapid increase as figures doubled from 1.641% to 3.376% in the year 2007. However, post 2007, total annual growth rate as a percentage of the population began to rapidly decrease and from 3.376% in 2007 to its lowest amount in that period to 0.168% in 2013 where it then increased to 0.366% in 2014. I decided to investigate more data that would positively correlate to this and below is the total number of deaths in Ireland for the period 2007-2014 which I got from the CSO and then, created a bar chart to represent the data. However there were no unusual figures in the death rates that could correspond to the rapid decrease in population from the year 2007 as the death rate figures remained similar throughout that period and even decreased in 2009 from 28,380 to 27,961 people in 2010 which couldn’t correspond to figure 1, where the annual growth rate as a percentage of the population decreased.
Following the unsuccessful attempt of comparing the annual growth as a percentage of the Irish population to the death rates I decided to compare it to the Immigration figures for that period. I downloaded the immigration datasets as CSV files from the CSO and used my Datamic editor tool to present this data. At this point I knew the figures but I didn’t know if there was going to be a good comparison between both datasets until I created my linear chart. I thought it would be best to create this data in the same format as figure 1, because if the linear chart looked similar to the one in figure 1, it would mean I had a successful comparison.
The datasets on immigration in Ireland and the linear function in figure 3 was the splitting image of the linear chart I had created in figure 1 which would explain the rapid increase and decrease in the Irish population from 2002 to 2014. Similarly to figure 1, my linear chart from figure 3 had also decreased from 2002 with approximately 66.9 (thousand) immigrants to 60.0 (thousand) in 2003. Similarly in figure 1, my linear chart also had a rapid increase from 2004 to 2007 where the number of immigrants increased from 58.5 (thousand) to 151.1 (thousand) and, where the figure also doubled in that period. In similar fashion to my first linear chart, in figure 3 there is also a rapid decrease from 2007 to 2010 where the amount of immigrants falls to 41.8 (thousand), which is also an enormous decline.
Concluding that data I knew there were various questions that remained to explore. Such as, the reasons that specifically in that period immigration rose rapidly and also declined. Where were the immigrants coming from and for what reasons. The next piece of data I explored for this project was certainly my favourite, as it is very unusual and one I’m not familiarised with but heavenly enjoyed doing. I decided to explore the countries these immigrants were coming from. Below is a shaded map of EU countries and a dataset that illustrates where the majority of immigrants came from during the period 2002 to 2014. Using the visualisation tool Datamatic editor and that statistics from the CSO, I was able to create a shaded map of the EU representing how many immigrants came from each country. It also answers the reason for such a rapid increase in the annual growth rate in Ireland as a percentage of the population.
As we can see from figure 4 above, the majority immigrating action came from Eastern European countries which had in fact joined the EU on the 1st of May 2004. Prior to 2004, immigrating figures were steady in Ireland but soon after figures began to rise rapidly. The 10 new countries to join the EU were Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. It was the largest single enlargement in terms of people and number of countries ever since the European Union was created. Ireland of course from the mid 1990’s to approximately 2006 had a period of rapid real economic growth fuelled by foreign investment and a subsequent property bubble which rendered the real economy uncompetitive. That time was also known as the Celtic Tiger period as explained above. The Irish economy expanded at an average rate of 9.4% between 1995 and 2000, and continued to grow at an average rate of 5.9% during the following decade up until 2008. These countries that just joined the European Union meant they could now travel to other EU countries and saw Ireland as an opportunity as there economy was flourishing. In the CSO the figures for the 10 new joined countries only begin from 2004 where they joined the EU and from 2004 to 2014 they occupy 40% of the overall immigration action that took place in Ireland which explains the rapid growth in figure 1 from 2004 to 2007. The UK also occupies a heavy amount of immigrating action which took place during the period of 2002-2014 as its also heavily coloured in my data.
However, Things began to change in Ireland when it fell into a recession in 2008. The economy underwent a dramatic reversal from 2008, with GDP contracting by 14% and unemployment levels rising to 14% by 2011. Ireland was not seen as the land of dreams for these multinationals, as unemployment was rising. I think many of these people decided to go back home and this would explain the decrease in annual growth rate as a percentage of Irish population as people no longer wanted to immigrate to Ireland hence the rapid decrease post 2008 as there was a decrease in employment, there was no reason to immigrate to Ireland. There was also the forecast of no new jobs would be added to the Irish economy for the first time since 1991. In 2008, Ireland’s unemployment rate reached 6.1%, highest since 1991.(7)
The rapid changed in the annual growth rates as a percentage of Ireland’s population can be compared to the immigration figures during the years 2002-2014. During the years of the Celtic Tiger, many saw Ireland as an opportunity for a better life and during the years between 2004 and 2007 it wasn’t an increase in birth rates but an increase in immigration increased the growth of the population in Ireland. The impact of 10 new countries joining the EU on the 1st of May also played a vital role in immigration figures rising in Ireland. Following the Economic crash in 2008 in Ireland which resulted in the loss of jobs and an increase in unemployment didn’t portray Ireland as the land of dreams anymore and immigration was rapidly decreasing to it’s lowest point in a long time which had a severe impact on the annual growth rate of population in Ireland.
- Figure 1, ‘Population annual growth rate as a (%) 2002-2014′ Available on : https://goo.gl/ZB19CA
- Figure 2, ‘Death rates in Ireland (2007-2014)’ Available on : https://goo.gl/9uyEVW
- Figure 3, ‘Immigrants in Ireland (2002-2014)’ Available on : https://goo.gl/4JGQHt
- Figure 4, ‘Heath map of immigrants from EU to Ireland’ Available on : https://goo.gl/1Rvw5U
- Hickey, R. (2011). ‘Irish economy in perspective’ Department of Finance. Available on : http://www.finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/irisheconomyjune2011.pdf Accessed on (March 19, 2017)
- RTÉ news: ‘20-year low in economic growth predicted’ RTÉ 14 March 2008. Accessed 19th March 2017
- OECD (2016). Population total annual growth rate (%) 2002-2014′ OECD. Available on : https://data.oecd.org/pop/population.htm , Accessed on (March 19, 2017)
- CSO (2016). ‘Estimated Immigration (thousand)’ CSO. Available on : http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?Maintable=PEA18&PLanguage=0 , Accessed on (March 19, 2017)