The economic resilience of Irish counties for subsequent recessions and the impact of population distribution on resilience

Barraí Hennebry


Relevance. Much research was undertaken on regional economic resilience after the financial crisis of 2008. The current crisis caused by Covid19 provides an opportunity to understand further the nature of regional economic resilience. It also provides an opportunity to analyse the urban-rural divide of economic resilience for two recessions.

Research objective. There are two main objectives of this study Firstly, to understand if resilience to one recession provides a good indication of resilience to a subsequent recession. The second aim is to understand the urban-rural differences in regional economic resilience in Ireland.

Data and methods. This is a quantitative study which uses data from the Irish Central Statistics Office regarding unemployment and population distribution. To understand economic resilience a sensitivity index is used and to check for correlation the Pearson coefficient is used.

Results. Results show that there is no correlation between resilience to the financial crisis and resilience to the Covid19 crisis. Population distribution was not a determinant of resilience to the financial crisis. However, population distribution was a determinant of resilience to the Covid19 crisis. Counties with high population in ‘independent urban towns’ or ‘rural areas with moderate urban influence’ were more resilient while counties with high population in ‘satellite urban towns’ or ‘rural areas with high urban influence’ were more vulnerable.

Conclusions. Economic resilience to one recession is not a good indication of resilience to future recessions. Counties with population in urban centres or more reliant on urban areas were less resilient to the Covid19 crisis.


Regional economic resilience; urban-rural divide; Ireland; Covid19; recession

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