Europe’s fastest growing economy has made a remarkable recovery following the 2008 financial crash, but despite this, Irish expats are not flocking home. Among OECD nations, Ireland has the largest percentage of its population living abroad, with more than a fifth residing in other OECD countries, according to a new report.

During the Celtic Tiger era, Ireland was a nation of net immigration. As the recession took hold, around half a million people left the country and emigration increased to early 1990s levels. The OECD report, Connecting with Emigrants: A Global Profile of Diasporas 2015, shows 20.8% of Irish citizens are living in other OECD countries.

At the other end of the scale, Japan and the US have emigration rates of less than 1% each.

Overall, migration from one OECD country to another stands at 41% of all migrants globally. This is an increase of nearly 10 million compared to 2000/01, with the US the top destination for migrants.

The report emphasizes the challenges that OECD countries are facing – such as ageing populations and low birth rates – some of which immigration could help overcome.

The Japanese government has warned that by 2060, almost 40% of the country’s population could be aged 65 or older. Despite low levels of emigration, Japan could benefit from inward migration of younger workers to boost its economy.

As the chart above shows, ageing populations are also a major problem in Europe. Germany has the lowest birth rate in the world – an average of 8.2 children per 1,000 inhabitants over the past five years, compared to 8.4 in Japan. As a result, Germany is expected to face a shortage of 3.8 million skilled workers by 2060.

The report highlights the contribution that migrants can make to economies and aims to provide policy-makers with the necessary data on populations to help them adapt to the challenges of migration.

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