For many decades after the Famine there was large scale emigration from Ireland. It led to a decline in the Irish population, in 1840 there were 8 and a half million people in Ireland in 1960 there were only 4.5 million, despite the country having a high birth rate. Many Irish people had left the country for America and elsewhere prior to the Famine.<ref>Foster, p. 134.</ref> However, because of the Famine, millions were to leave the country. This was to have dramatic consequences for the populations of many countries. Soon there were substantial Irish communities all over the world. These Irish emigrants helped to develop the economics of their new homes. Irish emigrants settled on the frontier in countries such as America, Canada and Australia. Emigrants from Ireland helped these nations to expand and to grow. However, as many of the Irish were Catholics this led to sectarian tensions with existing Protestant communities in countries such as America and Canada.<ref>Foster, p. 245.</ref>
[[File:Ireland_population_change_1841_1851.png|thumbnail|Population due to the Irish Potato Famine|160px]]
The Famine was tragedy for Ireland. It led to mass starvation and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. It decisively shaped Irish society for many decades and even to the present day. The Famine resulted increased tensions between Catholic and Protestant and between Britain and Ireland
and this led to violence and instability for many years. Its most ‘durable legacy was the continuing high levels of emigration from the country, which lasted until at least the 1990s.<ref>Foster, p. 345.</ref> This was a tragedy for Ireland and as a result of emigration, the Irish population has still not recovered to its pre-Famine level. However, the Famine led to mass emigration from the country and this was to have significant consequences for many nations, especially in North America. Irish emigrants helped countries such as Canada and America to fulfil their potential and become great countries.