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Number of carers rises by 23,000 as over half a million claim a disability

4.1 per cent of the population are now listed as being carers, latest census figures show, as 13 per cent of the population claim they have a disability.

Senior Statistician CSO, Mr Gerry Walker at the Census Highlights of 2011 part 2
Senior Statistician CSO, Mr Gerry Walker at the Census Highlights of 2011 part 2
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE NUMBER OF people listed as being carers has increased by by 21,967 to 160,917, according to the latest census figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Currently, 4.1 per cent of the population are now listed as being carers, after the census office more broadly defined who is and is not one.

“In the past the census only asked about people who were carers and over the age of 15. Now they looked for people who were 15 and over,” Catherine Cox of the Carers Association told TheJournal.ie.

A small minority of people may have defined themselves as carers in order to come off unemployment and claim the carers allowance, she said. However, the number was probably very minute she said.

“The difference between unemployment benefit and the carers allowance is €12. To get it you have to prove that you are doing 45 hours or more a week of caring. It is strictly means tested and you need to get a medical cert from your doctor.”

It is very difficult for someone to prove that they are a carer.

Elsewhere, the census report said:

  • A total of 595,335 people claimed to have a disability, up from 393,784 in 2006.
  • Broadband use in homes increased from 21.2 per cent in 2006 to 65.3 per cent in 2011
  • Car ownership rose to 1.36 million households having at least one car, up 186,000 from 2006.

Read: Residential Property Prices continued decline in April-CSO >

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