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Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939$
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Cormac Gráda Ó

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205982

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205982.001.0001

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Population and Emigration, 1850–1939

Population and Emigration, 1850–1939

(p.213) 9 Population and Emigration, 1850–1939
Ireland: A New Economic History 1780–1939

Cormac Ó Gráda

Oxford University Press

The Great Famine set off a population decline unmatched in any other European country in the 19th century, a decline that lasted in Ireland as a whole until the 1900s, and that has continued in some rural areas until this day. The famine certainly provided the spur, but the persistence of the decline is perhaps better explained as a consequence of Irish poverty relative to both Great Britain and America in 1800, 1850, and 1900. Ireland's population decline was largely a rural phenomenon. Between the Great Famine and World War I, the country's rural and small-town population dwindled from 7 million to less than 3 million, and the share of towns and cities of 2,000 people or more — a very generous definition of urbanization — rose from one-seventh to one-third. This chapter deals with population and emigration trends in Ireland between 1850 and 1939, including population growth, population decline, and fertility.

Keywords:   Ireland, Great Famine, population growth, population decline, emigration, fertility, urbanization, poverty

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