We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Pope Francis with the Synod of Bishops this month. Alamy Stock Photo
census 2022

Census reveals 10% drop in number of Catholics in Ireland and rise in people with no religion

Further Census statistics released by the CSO show that there are less Catholics in Ireland.

THE RESULTS OF Census 2022 have revealed that there has been a 10% drop in the number of people who identify as Roman Catholics, and a 63% percent increase in people having no religion since the last census six years ago. 

The percentage of the Irish population that identify as Catholic has fallen from 79% in 2016 to 69% in 2022, while the number of people with no religion increased by over 280,000, to 736,210 – which is 14% of the overall population. 

The second largest religious grouping in Ireland behind the Roman Catholic Church was Church of Ireland or England, which accounted for 124,749 people in Census 2022, which is actually an increase of 2% compared to six years ago. 

The Orthodox (Greek, Coptic, Russian) grouping is the third largest group with over 100,000 people, which is a 65% increase compared to the last census.

Over 68,000 people preferred not to state their religious background, or whether they are part of  a religious grouping or not. 

Census 2022 revealed that Ireland’s population now stands at 5.15 million people, which represents an 8% increase in the last six years. 

A breakdown of findings released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today has shown that there were almost 632,000 non-Irish citizens living here for Census 2022, which was 12% of the country’s population. 

Nearly half of this group were from EU countries, while just over 83,000 were from the UK. 

In the year preceding the Census, over 89,500 people moved to Ireland. Almost 10,000 came from India, while over 5,000 came from Brazil. 

77% of people in Ireland for Census 2022 identified as White Irish, while the next largest ethnic group was ‘Any Other White’. 

This was followed by Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi people, who made up 2% of the population, and Black and Black Irish people who made up 1% of the population. 

The number of usually resident Irish Travellers increased by 6% to 32,949.

Higher rate of serious health conditions in Traveller community

Looking at the overall population, 15% were aged 65 and older. In comparison, this cohort made up just 5% of Irish Travellers.

CSO Statistician Brendan Murphy said that the census findings for the Irish Traveller community “captures important data and provides demographics similar to the ones published in the 2016 census”.

An in-depth report by Noteworthy, the investigative platform of The Journal, found that Traveller health was “not being prioritised” despite “shocking” outcomes for children. The investigation from 2021 also showed that systemic issues with housing and education issues are impacting the health of Travellers.

Irish Travellers make up less than 1% of the country’s overall population. In Census 2022, six out of every 1,000 people in the State were Irish Travellers. 

The average age of the Irish Traveller population is 27 years, compared to the average age of 39 for the total population in Census 2022. 

Children under the age of 15 made up 26% of Irish Travellers, compared with 20% of the general population. 

Irish Travellers reported a higher incidence of having at least one long-lasting condition or difficulty (related to their health), accounting for 26% of the Traveller population, compared to 22% of the general population. 

Nearly twice the rate of Travellers experienced a long-lasting condition to a great extent, compared to the total population in Census 2022. 

Of all the children under the age of 15 in the State, 4% reported experiencing at least one long-lasting condition or difficulty to a great extent compared to 7% of Traveller children. 

The proportion of 15 to 29 year old Irish Travellers experiencing at least one long-lasting difficulty to a great extent (13%) was more than twice that of all people in the same age cohort for the total population (6%). 

For people between the ages of 30 to 59, 21% of Irish Travellers reported experiencing at least one long lasting condition to a great extent compared to 6% of the total population, meaning the number of people in this situation in the Traveller community is 3 times higher. 

16% of the Traveller population reported being daily smokers, compared to 9% of the total population. 9% of Travellers had given up smoking, compared to 19% of the general population. 

The census found that 29,900 Irish Travellers reported living in private households, while 2,286 people were living in temporary housing units such as caravans and mobile homes.