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At 88.6%, Offaly has the highest percentage of Catholics in Ireland

Ireland’s population of Roman Catholics has fallen since 2011.

THE EIGHTH PART of Census 2016 has revealed where the most and least religious parts of the country are, with Catholicism still marked as the most common religion.

There are 3,729,115 Roman Catholics in Ireland, which makes up 78% of the population (down from 84% in the last census in 2011).

The county with the most Roman Catholics is… Offaly, with 88.6% of it’s population describing themselves as of that religion.

Vatican Pope Pope Francis shows his approval in St Peter's Square. Source: Fabio Frustaci via PA Images

That’s changed from the last census where south Tipperary was recorded as being 91% Roman Catholic, with north Tipp not too far behind.

The total number of Catholics in Ireland has fallen since 2011, with Catholics comprising 78.3% of the population in April 2016, compared with 84.2% five years previously.

The 3,729,115 Catholics recorded in Census 2016 was 132,220 fewer than in 2011.

The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown part of Dublin has been recorded as the region with the lowest percentage of Roman Catholics (the census isn’t just divided by county, but by region based on population).

Dublin also has the highest percentage of people with no religion at 41.5% (that’s 199,602 people). Longford had the lowest percentage of people with no religion at 0.4% (or 1,904 people).

Profile_8_ReligionAndEthnicityInfographic_-_900x525-06 Source: CSO

In total one in ten people in Ireland say they have no religion, an increase of 73.6% from five years previously.

Ireland’s Orthodox Christians grew by 37.5% between now and the last census, and that group is made up mostly of Romanians. There are 63,443 members of Ireland’s Muslim community which is almost double the number recorded in 2006.

Looking at other, non-Christian, religions, the 14,332 Hindus recorded in Census 2016 was a 135.6% increase on the number in 2006.  The number of Buddhists increased to 9,758 (that’s up 12.1%) since 2011, while there were 2,557 Jews, an increase of 28.9% (573) on five years previously.

Persons born outside of Ireland comprised 12% of the country’s total Catholic population.

There were 73,208 divorced Catholics in Ireland in April 2016, of whom 29,900 were males and 43,308 were females.

Catholics had a lower rate of divorce than the general population, 4.1% compared to 4.7%, although the rate has increased since 2011, when it was 3.6%.

Ethnicity

Details on ethnicity and the Travelling community were also released.

There were 30,987 usually resident Irish Travellers enumerated in Census 2016, an increase of 5.1% on the 2011 figure (29,495). Almost 60% of Travellers were aged under 25, compared with just 33.4% of the general population. There were just 451 Traveller men aged 65 and over and 481 Traveller females.

Dublin city and suburbs had the largest number of Irish Travellers with 5,089 persons.  This was followed by Galway city and suburbs with 1,598 persons and Cork city and suburbs with 1,222.

Among towns with 1,500 or more persons, Tuam had the highest number of Irish Travellers with 737 persons, followed by Longford with 730 persons. Navan, Mullingar, Dundalk and Ballinasloe all had 500 or more Irish Travellers in 2016.

“White Irish” remains by far the largest group, accounting for 3,854,226 (82.2%) usual residents. This was followed by “Any other White background” (9.5%), non-Chinese Asian (1.7%) and “other including mixed background” (1.5%). The 19,447 persons with Chinese ethnic/cultural background made up 0.4% of the usually resident population, while those of mixed backgrounds (70,603) constituted 1.5%.

You can read more from the CSO here, or view their interactive map here.

Read: One in 10 Irish people say they have no religion, the second largest group behind Roman Catholics

Read: We went to the most Catholic county in Ireland to ask about same-sex marriage

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