menu ☰
menu ˟

Projecting the Impact of Demographic Change on the demand for and Delivery of Health Care in Ireland


Economic and Social Research Institute

Subject Keywords: Health and health care
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

Health and health care are particularly sensitive to the size and make-up of the population. Increasing life expectancy in Ireland has resulted in an increasing elderly population, who require both more health care, on average, than younger people and a different combination of services. Population ageing is not the only demographic challenge we face however. Relatively high numbers of births and recent inward migration have led to a larger population. In the future this will exert increasing pressure on Irish health care resources. Effective planning for the consequences of these trends will be crucial in coping with the associated challenges. This report, undertaken by a consortium of researchers from the ESRI and TCD and supported by the HRB and HSE, analyses the impact of demographic changes on health needs and the healthcare system in Ireland. The report showed that there will be significant population growth and ageing between 2009 and 2021, from 4.24 million in 2006 to between 4.71 million and 5.1 million by 2021 depending on migration developments. The age composition of the population will change, with the proportion aged under 5 years projected to fall absolutely (by 32,000) and relatively (by 1.2 per cent). Those aged 65+ will increase from 11 per cent to 15.4 per cent of the population, with those aged 85+ increasing from 1.1 per cent to 2.1 per cent, which represents an absolute increase of 42,900 individuals. The fall in the proportion of younger age groups will be most pronounced in Western and Southern counties. Based upon current utilisation patterns these demographic changes would imply:



Rights: © ESRI
Suggested citation:

Economic and Social Research Institute. (2009) Projecting the Impact of Demographic Change on the demand for and Delivery of Health Care in Ireland [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st August 2019].


View your saved citations and reading lists


Health Research Board Publications
Click here to view all the resources gathered from this organisation's website.