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Ireland's exodus: By the numbers
Tens of thousands of Irish people are leaving their country for continental Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, in a wave of emigration not seen since the potato famine
Ireland's financial crisis is reportedly pushing 1,000 Irish citizens to leave the country every week.
Ireland's financial crisis is reportedly pushing 1,000 Irish citizens to leave the country every week.
Corbis
I

rish voters go to the polls today for a general election — but new evidence suggests that much of the electorate may not stick around for long. The severe financial crisis in Ireland is spurring a wave of emigration that threatens to decimate the country's population. Here, a look at the numbers behind Ireland's exodus:

13.4 percent
The current unemployment rate in Ireland

32 percent
Ireland's budget deficit as a percentage of GDP (approximately $227 billion). By comparison, the U.S. deficit this year stands at about 9 percent of its GDP.

$15 billion
Savings the Irish government hopes to make over the next four years, mainly by cutting state pensions and benefits, and raising taxes

100,000
The number of Irish citizens expected to leave the country in the next two years

1,000
The number of Irish citizens currently leaving the country every week. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who is set to become Ireland's next prime minister, called the figure a "national heartbreak."

500
The number of Irish emigrants who returned home every week in 2002, at the height of the "Celtic Tiger" boom

60 percent
The rise this year in visa applications by Irish citizens to Australia

30,000
Number of Irish citizens currently in Australia on a two-year "holiday" visa

44,000
The number of Irish citizens who left the country during the recession of 1989

320,000
The number of Irish citizens who left the country in the ten years after WWII

1 million
The number of Irish citizens who left the country in the ten years after the potato famine of the 1850s

8.17 million
Population of Ireland in 1841

4.22 million
Population of Ireland in 1926, the lowest point in the last 170 years

4.47 million
Current population of Ireland

41 million
Number of Americans who claim "Irish" as their primary ethnicity, according to the 2000 U.S. census

80 million
Approximate number of people around the world who claim Irish descent. This block of people is affectionately known in Ireland as the "Fifth Province."

Sources: Wall Street Journal, ABC News (Australia), New York Times, BBC, Guardian, Central Statistics Office of Ireland

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