Yesterday, the 14th June 2016, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released the Preliminary Report for Census 2016. The preliminary results are the initial count of the census. They are based on the summary counts for each enumeration area which were compiled by the 4,663 census enumerators and which have been returned to the CSO in advance of the census forms themselves. Further detailed results will be released in different phases as they become available during 2017, commencing with the Principal Demographic Results. All going well, we will see the full release of the SAPS data next March or April.

 A limited number of preliminary variables were released yesterday with data available for a variety of geographical scales from the Region to the Electoral Division (ED) level.

  1. Population 2016
  2. Male Population
  3. Female Population
  4. Housing Stock
  5. Vacant Dwellings
  6. Vacant Holiday Homes
  7. Other Vacant Dwellings (Houses and Flats)
  8. Total Vacancy Rate

 To download the raw data, please visit the CSO site here

 A summary of the main demographic results are detailed below. We will be adding further information on housing and housing vacancy later today.

Population Change

 In somewhat of a surprise, considering the constant discussion on mass emigration from Ireland in recent years, the population of Ireland now stands at 4,757,976 and represents an increase of 169,724 or 3.7% from Census 2011. While this level of growth is nowhere near the record inter-census levels witnessed in the 2002-06 (+8.23%) and 2006-2011 (+8.1%) periods it is still considerably higher than what was expected.

Post 2011 we have been looking at Annual Population Estimates and Migration trends and all of this pointed to a much lower rate of growth – estimated to be in the region of 1.1% between 2012 and end of 2015 based on the annual estimates. These estimates are driven by vital statistics on natural increase (births-deaths) and then estimated figures on net migration (immigrants-emigrants).

Over this period our natural increase has remained extremely positive at approximately +40k a year but net-migration was estimated to in the region of -25k a year. Although 2015 saw a large reduction in levels of estimated emigration and increased levels of immigration this all pointed to a much lower rates of growth between 2011 and 2016 than the 3.7% reported from yesterday’s results. Even though we know the Census (based on de-facto count or actual residence on Census night – so includes tourists and visitors) will always be far more accurate than the annual population estimates (de-jure or normally resident) and show much higher numbers, the surprising fact about yesterday’s results was that total net-migration over the 5 year period was only -28,558 or an annual figure of -5,712. It now seems that we may have been both over-estimating emigration and under-estimating immigration in the years post economic crash (2009).

Overall, this is very positive news for Ireland. A 3.7% increase in population over the last 5 years is very high on international standards and well above the Euro Zone increase of approximately 1.1%. Looking back a little further, we now have an extra 518,128 or 12.2% people living in Ireland than we did ten years ago in 2016. This is a major increase in ten years and will certainly have an impact on a range of service provision (education, health, social welfare and transport) if investment is not aligned with patterns of change – both increase and decrease.

As expected, there are very interesting trends in the population change distribution across the country. While it’s all growth at the national level there are in fact some very interesting trends emerging. With the exception of Sligo (-0.1% or -36), Mayo (-0.2 or -213) and Donegal (-1.5% or -2,382), all local authorities (using 34 rather than 31 for comparison with 2011) experienced levels of population growth between 2011 and 2016. Highest levels of increases were all recorded in Dublin and the Mid-East with highest rates in Fingal (8.1% or 22,223), Meath (5.9% or 10,807), Kildare (5.6% or 11,818), Dún Laoghaire Rathdown (5.3% or 11,013) and Galway City (5.3% or 3,975).

At the new Regional Assembly levels there were increases of 5.2% (115,659) in the Eastern and Midlands Region, 2.9% (44,553) in the Southern Region and 1.1% (9,512) in the North and Western Region.

With a population of 1,345,402, the Dublin region (Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin and DLR) now accounts for 28.3% of the total population.

Within and across Local Authorities there has been a lot of change as well with 61 EDs showing an increase of excess of 20% while a further 147 EDs showing increases in excess of 10 and 20%. At the other end of the scale there were 1,389 (40%) of the 3441 EDs recording population decrease during this period. 

To help visualise all of this we have just launched our new Census 2016 Preliminary Viewer. We have data on the following variables: Population Change 2011-2106, Population Change 2006-2011, Housing Vacancy (Exc Holiday Homes) 2016, Housing Vacancy (Exc Holiday Homes) 2011 and Change in Vacant Dwelling Units, 2011 -2016. All of this is based on a Electoral Division set containg 3,406 areas that allows us to map change between 2002 and 2016 for different variables - this means merging some rural EDs in different parts of the country. As such, this is different than the ED mapping released from the CSO yesterday which was based on 3,414 EDs. 

To view this data in high definition maps for Ireland including the 5 cities as insets please click here and search by Theme and Year.

For now, you can have a look at the trends and patterns on Census 2016 Preliminary Viewer