Changing Population and Effects on the Housing Crisis

According to the Central Statistics Office, Ireland’s population is expected to grow from 4.78 million in 2019 to 5.9 million by 2046. The growth is occurring due to economic growth and recovery since the 2008 recession. The population of Ireland has increased by just over a million people since 1999. The rapid population growth suggest an even greater demand for housing in the future. The housing crisis will only continue to progress, because demand for homes and apartments will only continue to grow as the population increases.

An additional 1.12 million people will need to be housed by 2046 as population continues to grow. At least 12,500 homes need to be built each year until 2021. This is a massive task, considering that Ireland built just over 8,500 homes in 2012.

Demographic changes in population also present challenges in supplying more housing. Ireland’s population is aging. The 2016 National Census has confirmed that there has been a 19.1% increase in people aged over 65. By 2046, people over the age of 65 are expected to account for 1.4 million of the Irish population. So why is an aging population relevant in solving the housing issue? Builders and governmental agencies must heavily consider the demographics of the Irish population in order to accommodate all cohorts of the population. In other words, developing nursing homes and care for the aging population is extremely relevant to increasing the supply of housing.

Life expectancy rates are also expected to rise in the next 25 years. By 2046, the median life expectancy of a man will be 80 years old while life expectancy of women will rise to 88 years. The increase in life expectancy only enhances the need for consideration of accommodating the needs of all Irish citizens.

House and occupancy family size are also a changing demographic throughout Ireland. Family sizes are getting smaller. According to the Greater London Area’s survey of housing, 150,000 fewer family sized are needed for the future in comparison to the last 20 years. Dublin is expected to follow the decreasing need for family homes. However, 65% of housing stock in Dublin are family homes, but only 37% of households have families with children. In comparison, most european cities only housing comprises of around 27% of family homes.

The Irish housing supply is very disproportionate for the needs of the city and overall country. The housing crisis will only be solved if developers and governmental agencies take action now in building homes that are accommodating to changing demographic needs. Action is currently needed to reduce the burdens of lack of housing supply.


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