The population of the Republic of Ireland is at its highest level since 1881.

The population of the Republic of Ireland now stands at 3.84 million, the country's highest level in 120 years.

Net immigration is at an all time high while the number of births less deaths is at its highest level since 1998.

Births in this country reached a peak in 1980. Now, as that generation comes of child bearing age, births now exceed deaths by almost 26,000.

While immigration has increased, emigration has now declined to a record low resulting in a net immigration figure of over 26,000.

Aidan Punch, senior statistician at the Central Statistics Office (CSO), says that country is now experiencing fairly major demographic change. While births and deaths are predictable, emigration and immigration are quite volatile.

The latest figures from the CSO also show that the economy continues to create jobs although at a slower rate than in previous years. Unemployment stands at 3.7%. The number of jobs in the hospitality sector fell due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak. In a sector largely dependent on younger workers, this is largely reflected in the fact that few younger people are working.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 29 August 2001. The reporter is Eilis Brennan.