The latest figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that over 76,000 people left Ireland last year, more than 40,000 of which were Irish-born citizens.

As well as a flood of Irish departing for a new life abroad, the majority of the 36,000 others who left Ireland were from the original eight EU countries.

The findings show overall immigration levels from 2011 are 11,000 higher than just 12 months earlier.

The OECD research of immigration trends in Ireland also found a small but notable increase in the number of people arriving or returning to Ireland over the past 18 months.

The number of Irish ex-pats returning to the land of their birth rose from 133,000 to 171,000 between 2010 and 2011.

The data also shows there has been a dramatic drop in number of people seeking asylum in Ireland.

Some 1,250 people sought asylum in Ireland because of wars or other threats in 2011, the lowest number since 1996. The number represents a decrease from a high of 11,634 in 2002.

Meanwhile, according to the Central Statistics Office, up to 424,000 Irish people classed themselves as unemployed in last year's census.

Breaking News reports that the 2011 figures show that 19 percent of people were out of work, an increase of 137 percent since 2006.

Over 76,000 people left Ireland last year, more than 40,000 of which were Irish born citizensGoogle Images