Census 2011: Marriage splits soar, population grows to 4.58m in latest census report
MORE than 200,000 people are divorced or separated in Ireland, it emerged today.
Census figures showed 87,770 people were divorced last April, a 150pc rise since 2002 when the first count after divorce was legalised in 1997.
Elsewhere the amount of people separated stood at 116,194.
However more Irish couples have also married in recent years, with 143,588 more people wed in 2011 than five years earlier.
Of the 1.18 million families, 143,600 were comprised of cohabiting couples.
There were also 215,300 families headed by lone parents and 4,042 same-sex couples living together - 2,321 men and 1,721 women.
The census - taken just less than a year ago on April 10 2011 - showed the country's diverse population rose to more than 4.58 million last year and included 766,770 residents who were born outside Ireland - 17pc of the population.
The largest increase were Romanians, up 110pc to almost 18,000, followed by Indians (up 91pc to 17,856). But Polish make up the largest number of emigrants at 115,193.
Over half a million residents spoke a foreign language at home, with Polish the most common, followed by French, Lithuanian and German.
The first definitive results of the 2011 census also revealed the number of Irish nationals returning home rose by 19,593 in the year to April 2011. Thre majority, 7,338, had lived in the UK, followed by Australia (3,921) and the USA (1,688).
The Integration Centre said figures dispel the thought many immigrants left Ireland in recent years.
Killian Forde, chief executive, said policymakers need to think about the benefits integration will bring to Irish society.
"From a social perspective immigrants add a cultural vibrancy to Ireland it would not otherwise have. From food, to music and dance there are few of us that would ever wish to return to the homogenous Irish cuisine or culture," he added.
The CSO said its publication, This is Ireland - Highlights from Census 2011 Part 1, is the first of 13 reports to be published throughout the year that will give a comprehensive and valuable picture of Ireland.
It revealed the housing boom, and collapse, also left their mark.
The country's housing stock grew to almost two million homes - but almost 290,000 were vacant on census night last April, up 27,880 since the 2006 census.
The highest proportion of empty homes were in the west, with 30pc of dwellings in Letrium vacant, followed by Donegal (28pc).
However the number of private households increase by 12.6pc since 2006 to 1.65 million.