The famine in Ireland - Census report 1856

Emigration and Migration

The figures for Emigration record only those going overseas, with the addition of ten percent to
allow for errors.

Migration, that is, from Ireland to England, Wales, and Scotland, is not recorded. In those times
it was common practice to migrate from Ireland to England, or Scotland and many returned when
the opportunity afforded. My estimate is that in addition to those who emigrated a further
50-60% migrated from Ireland to Great Britain. One set of figures is available in the Parliamentary
records, for 1841, Emigration: 71392, Migration 57651. Migration adds 80% to the recorded
outflow of Emigration in that year, and some will return to Ireland, despite the hardships.

Figures for each year, showing recorded Emigration and my estimate of the total:
1840 60485 no figure
1841 71392 106873
1842 89686 134260
1843 37509 56151
1844 54289 81270
1845 74969 112228
1846 105955 158614
1847 215444 322519
1848 178159 266704
1849 214425 320994
1850 209054 312953

graph  of total outflow from Ireland 1841-1851 by age at departure. Multiply the figures
by 100 to get the percentage of the total number of emigrants and migrants in each year.
The graph shows that most of the emigrants were between 18 and 35 years old. Some
eyewitness reports speak of whole families departing, including grandparents and babes
in arms. The calculation might have shown that most of the emigrants were the parents
of young children. A case could have been made for such a family group leaving after
the grandparents had died, selling what they could to pay for the passage. This scenario
is not supported by the calculated figures. Instead, when a child reached the age of  21
they left for opportunities in far off fields.

Only figures for total emigration are available for each year between 1841 and
1851, so a fair amount of work is needed to allocate emigration to each agegroup, and then
to individual ages for each year of the famine. That leaves a substantial discrepancy for
people aged between about 20 and 35, without figures for migration to Great Britain
added in. There is evidence that migration was substantial, and a figure of 60% of
emigration enables the figures to balance.

Total recorded emigration 1841-1851 is 1,295,753.  I have added 60% for migration
to Great Britain, giving a total of about two million.

Canadian immigration in 1947 records that of 15,000+ souls who embarked for Canada,
6% died during the voyage. Normal loss of life was about 0.5%. In total about 17% did not
survive and died either on voyage, in quarantine or in hospital.

famine index