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Census 2011: Over half the population lives in Leinster

Co Laois boasts the largest increase in population, while the highest growth of any constituency was recorded in Dublin North.

Image: lrargerich via Creative Commons

IRELAND’S POPULATION grew by 8.2 per cent, or 348,404 people, between 2006 and 2011, according to the latest census figures from the CSO.

The total population recorded in the April 2011 census was 4,588,252.

The figures break down as an average annual increase of 1.6 per cent in population – down on the 2.1 per cent recorded as the annual increase between Census 2002 and 2006. There were, on average, 73,000 births a year in the period between the two censuses.

The state’s population has increased by almost a third, or over one million people, in the past 20 years.

Over those two decades, the population saw its greatest jump in Census 1979, which was up 13.1 per cent on Census 1971. Inward migration, a higher birth rate and the fact that there was a longer gap between those reports than was usual because of the cancellation of the 1976 census are cited as the main factors in that increase.

The state’s population dipped to its lowest level in 1961 at 2,818,341 people. Last year saw the highest recorded population in Ireland since Census 1951 and the CSO data shows sustained population growth since 1996. The main push behind that sustained growth has been high birth rates coupled with a falling number of deaths.

Net migration over the five year period was 125,000, the CSO says.

Counties and constituencies

Co Laois saw the largest increase in population – up a fifth on the 2006 figures to 80,559. Meanwhile, Co Cavan’s population grew by 14.3 per cent to 73,183.

Overall, Leinster’s population, grew by over 9 per cent and by April 2011 the province held more than half of all persons counted in the census (54.6 per cent, or 2,504,814 people). Connacht grew by 7.6 per cent to hold a 11.8 per cent share of the state’s population (542,547 people), while the part of Ulster covered by the census grew by 10.3 per cent and held a 6.4 per cent share of the overall population (or 294,803).

Munster’s population showed the slowest growth over that period: 6.2 per cent to hold just over a quarter of the state’s population (27.1 per cent, 1,246,088 people).

The number of TDs per constituency is limited to one representative per 20,000-30,000 people; census data is used to determine how many representatives a constituency has in the Dáil. Census 2011 shows that:

  • Four constituencies had between 29,000 and 30,000 people per TD
  • Eleven constituencies had between 28,000 to 29,000 per TD
  • Since 2006, Dublin North recorded the highest growth of any constituency at 16.4 per cent, resulting in a total of 28,580 persons per TD
  • Laois-Offaly had the highest number of people per TD, with 30,565 per representative
  • Kildare South had 30,088 per TD, while Kildare North had 30,102 per TD
  • Dublin North-Central was the only constituency to show a population decrease (down 1 per cent since 2006) and has the lowest population per TD at 24,834 people per representative

Here are the highlights of Census 2011 >

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