The survey found 62 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 34 who leave the country have a "third-level qualification," The Irish Times reported. That is training, usually aimed at a specific job, that is the equivalent of the A-level exams required for university admission.
Only 45 percent of the general population have similar training.
Almost half of emigrants were working full time when they made the decision. They gave a variety of reasons for deciding to emigrate, including low pay and poor job prospects.
Ireland historically lost much of its population to emigration. The population dropped by half after the 1847 famine, and Irish emigrants continued to head to Britain, Canada, the United States and Australia for decades.
That changed in the late 20th century, but emigration has picked up with the economic slump. The survey found 17 percent of Irish households have lost at least one person to emigration since 2006, and 32 percent said a close relative had left Ireland.
One in four rural households reported having had someone emigrate, compared with 11 percent in suburban areas. Country-dwellers said emigration was stripping their areas of young people, depriving businesses of customers, and sports teams and clubs of members.
While 40 percent of recent emigrants said they hope to return to Ireland within three years, only 22 percent expect to.
The survey results are to be presented at a conference at University College Cork.
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