NIGERIAN and other African immigrants to Ireland are putting down much stronger roots than their East European counterparts with latest figures showing they are over three times more likely to have children here.
New figures compiled for the Sunday Tribune by political analyst Odran Flynn from the 2006 census show that there are 4,151 children aged 14 or under of Nigerian extract . . .
over a quarter of the total Nigerian population of 16,300 living in Ireland.
The number of Polish children aged 14 or under is only marginally higher, at 4,760, even though the census shows over 63,000 Poles living here.
Just over 7% of the Polish population are aged 14 or under.
Flynn's research also shows a growth of 20,000 in the past four years in the number of under-15s from countries whose first language was not English.
There was a virtual quadrupling in the number of European under 15s (excluding the UK) to 16,000 between 2002 and 2006. African numbers rose by over 3,000 to 7,647, while Asians tripled to 3,335.
Assuming an average of 500 pupils per school, this increase in 20,000 suggests that the equivalent of 40 schools were required to educate these extra foreign pupils.
Commenting on his research, Flynn said it showed certain groups of immigrants were clearly here to set up home, whereas others, such as the Poles, were more in the category of economic migrants and were more likely to return home. Looking at these figures, it is understandable that the Department of Education had a difficulty in coping with such large numbers of children coming into the system in such a short period of time, especially given the number of languages involved.
"This would be even more acute in rural areas, where there would be much less resources to cope with this than in major urban centres, " Flynn added. The research shows 25.47% of Nigerians living here are aged under-15, while the figure for other African countries is 18.69%.
This compares with 9.29% of Latvians, 11.28% of Lithuanians and 7.57% of Poles, 13.31% of Romanians and 21.5% of Irish nationals.