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Census 2016

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

Births, deaths and everything in between: Here’s what you need to know about Census 2016.


Updated 2pm

THE TOTAL POPULATION of Ireland counted in Census 2016 was 4,761,865 – an increase of almost 174,000 people (3.8%) since 2011.

Mayo and Donegal were the only counties where population declined, compared to the 2011 Census.

The figures were released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today.



IMG_20170406_132504 CSO CSO

There were almost 31,000 Travellers living in Ireland in 2016, a 5% increase on 2011.

During the five-year period measured, there were 344,400 births and 148,300 deaths, leading to a natural increase of 196,100 people.


Some 3.7 million people identified as Catholic in this census (78%), 132,220 fewer than in 2011 (when the percentage stood at 84%).

One in 10 Irish people say they have no religion (468,421 people), a 73.6% increase since 2011. This makes ‘no religion’ the second largest group in this category behind Roman Catholics.

IMG_20170406_105531 (1)


More females than males 

The average age of the population was 37.4 years in 2016, up from 36.1 in 2011.

The figures show that, of the 4,761,865 people in Ireland on the night of the Census, 2,407,437 were female and 2,354,428 were male (a difference of 53,009).

More males than females are being born, but women generally live longer.

Due to higher male birth rates more males than females can traditionally be found in the younger age groups. For example, in the groups under 19, there was an average of 104.6 males for every 100 females.

women CSO CSO

However, among the older age groups the opposite is true. Lower female mortality accounts for the higher proportion of women in those aged 65 and over, and this becomes more pronounced with increasing age. There were just under 52 males for every 100 females in the 85+ age group. Age 45-49 is the most balanced group, with 99.7 men for every 100 women.

The number of children and people under the age of 25 has grown to 1,583,004, 33.2% of the total population. The 20-34-year-old age group was among just two groups which recorded a decline. The National Youth Council of Ireland said this demonstrates the impact of emigration.

Non-Irish nationals

The proportion of non-Irish nationals fell from 12% in 2011 to 11.6% last year (535,475 people, down by 8,882).

For the second consecutive census, Polish was the second most common nationality after Irish. Some 122,500 Polish people live here, as do over 103,000 British people.

Romanians showed the overall largest increase, up be 11,800 people to over 29,000.


Some 82,346 people moved to Ireland in the year leading up to April 2016.

The most common nationalities of people who moved here during this period were British, Australian, Brazilian, American, Spanish and Polish.

Irish and internet 

Almost four in 10 people said they could speak Irish, a slight drop to 1.76 million people.

IMG_20170406_132548 CSO CSO

In terms of internet access, broadband use in private households increased from 63.8% in 2011 to 70.7% in 2016, resulting in 148,125 more households having a broadband connection.

The number of homes with slower types of internet connection decreased slightly from 8.1% in 2011 to 7.8% (1,297 fewer dwellings) in 2016. Dwellings with no internet connection fell by 113,114 to 312,982 and represented 18.4% of dwellings, down from more than one in four (25.8%) in 2011.

Marriage and divorce

Some 37.6% of the population are married, an increase of over 83,500 people since 2011.

marriage CSO CSO

The majority of this increase (70,290) was among those married for the first time, with a further 9,031 people getting remarried.

Same-sex civil partnerships were captured separately for the first time in Census 2016, with 4,226 people in this category. A further 706 people were listed as being in a same-sex marriage.

The number of divorced people in Ireland increased from 87,770 in 2011 to 103,895 in 2016, an increase of 16,125 people.

The number of people identified as separated was up marginally from 116,194 to 118,178. As divorce in Ireland generally requires a period of separation in the first instance (up to five years), the CSO said the data “no doubt reflects both a progression for people from separation to divorce, combined with new numbers joining the category of separation”.


Couples with children have long been the most dominant household type in Ireland, accounting for 35.2% of all private households. Since 2011, they have also had the largest absolute growth of all household types – increasing by 20,796.

One-person households and couples without children also grew over the five years, increasing by 7,815 and 9,883 respectively.

There were 399,815 one-person households in total, of which 204,296 were female and 195,519 were male. The 62% of men who lived alone were single, with 13%widowed. Among women in this group, 74,725 were widowed, (37%), while 89,069 were single (44%).

The total number of families increased by 3.3%, to 1,218,370, over the five years to April 2016. Families are defined as couples with or without children, or one parent with children.

families CSO CSO

While husband, wife and children remained the most common family type – accounting for almost half of all families in Ireland – the largest increase was among married couples without children which accounted for 17,282 of the total increase of 39,160; cohabiting couples with children increased by 15,318.

The total number of children in families increased by 56,626 (3.5%) to 1,682,600 in 2016. The long-running decline in the number of children per family has levelled off. The average number of children in each family was 1.38, the same as in 2011. In 2006 it was 1.41.


There were 1,697,665 permanent housing units occupied at the time of the census, an increase of 48,257 units (2.9 %) on 2011.

Detached houses comprised 42.1% of the total (715,133) and remained the most popular dwelling type, increasing by 15,264. Semi-detached houses increased by 15,297 (3.3%) and accounted for 471,948 dwellings.

Purpose built flats and apartments have shown the largest increase – rising from 149,921 in 2011 to 172,096 in 2016, an increase of 14.8% or 22,175 units.

IMG_20170406_132404 CSO CSO

Some 497,000 households in Ireland were renting on census night 2016. This is an increase of 22,323 since Census 2011, when 474,788 households were renting.

The biggest increases in the number of renters were in Cavan (up 12.8%) and Kilkenny (up 11.2%). The decline in bedsit renting continued. Just under 2,800 households – 0.6% of the rental market – were renting bedsits.

Since 2011, the average weekly rent paid across the country grew by 14.8% to €156. Households living in private rented purpose built flats and apartments paid the highest rent at an average of €229 per week. In contrast, households renting a bedsit from a private landlord paid a much lower average rent at €125 per week.

Today’s report launch is the first of 13 summary and electronic reports of statistics from the 2016 Census. Themed releases on issues such as vacant houses, homelessness and diversity will be published in the coming weeks and months.

All images: CSO

Read: Why do we have a census? Here’s what the statistics are used for

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