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An estimated 63,000 people left Ireland in 2012, the highest level of emigration in almost a decade.

Irish emigration levels reached highest level in a decade in 2012

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An estimated 63,000 people left Ireland in 2012, the highest level of emigration in almost a decade.

An estimated 63,000 people left Ireland in 2012, the highest level of emigration in almost a decade.

According to the Irish Examiner, preliminary CSO estimates indicated emigration went up 12% last year as the economic downturn forces many people to seek employment abroad.

Figures show that fewer than half of those who left Ireland last year moved to the UK or the US, the traditional destinations for Irish emigrants.

Australia and New Zealand are now the destinations of choice for most new emigrants, with a total of 19,700 emigrants moving to the countries last year compared to the 19,000 who moved to Britain.

Emigrants to the US doubled in 2012 - up from 4,700 in 2011 to 8,600 last year.

Another 15,800 emigrated to “other countries” such as Canada, Spain, France, and Germany.

Figures show that the number of people emigrating has risen steadily since 2004, with numbers accelerating sharply since the start of the downturn in 2008, when 31,300 people left Ireland.

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