Friday 23 February 2018

Census 2016 revealed: Ireland's fastest-growing town, the county with 65pc born elsewhere, and the urban-rural divide

Commuter town populations increasing (Stock photo)
Commuter town populations increasing (Stock photo)

Paul Melia Environment Editor

ALMOST two-thirds of the entire population now live in urban areas, new Census data shows.

Figures released from the Central Statistics Office also show that people are moving home less frequently, and that one-in-three residents who moved in the year to April 2016 went to Dublin.

And it also shows the increasing rate of urbanisation across the country, and the east/west divide.

There are now 41 towns with populations of 10,000 or more, with 27 in Leinster. Just five are in Connacht/Ulster.

All three of the biggest towns in the provinces outside Leinster – Ennis, Sligo and Letterkenny - experienced population declines over the five years.

And in Meath, 65pc of the population were born outside the county, the highest proportion in the country. Cork has the lowest rate, at 25pc, while people born in Donegal tend to remain – just 13pc of those born in the county were usually resident in another county.

House building. Photo: PA
House building. Photo: PA

It also shows:

* Almost half the urban population, or 44pc, live in Dublin. Another 11pc live in Cork.

* The biggest change in urbanisation occurred in Sligo county, where 40pc of the population now live in the town compared with 37pc five years ago.

* Some 37pc of people live in rural areas, and the largest population increase was in Kildare, followed by Cork.

* Drogheda is the fastest growing town in the country, up 6pc to almost 41,000 over the last five years. The next biggest are Swords and Dundalk. Ennis is the largest in Munster, and Sligo is the biggest in Connacht and Letterkenny is top in Ulster.

The ‘Population Distribution and Movements’ report, which is part of Census 2016, also shows that 70 people live in each square kilometre of the country, up from 67 in 2011.

In urban areas, it’s 2,008 per km2, and just 27 in rural areas.

Some 1.9 million, or 40pc of the population, live within 5km of the coastline. 40,000 live less than 100 metres.

But also shows that internal migration is falling, which could be due to the housing crisis with little options for those hoping to move.

The CSO says 263,551 usual residents (aged one year and over) moved in the year up to April 2016, down 3.5pc on the 2011 figure of 273,239. 

Of these, 94,182 moved in Dublin, with 18,716 moving out of the county.  The top destinations were Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.  The number of households moving in the year up to April 2016 fell by 4pc to 110,204.

Almost half of those moving were aged 20 to 34 years, and 28 was the peak age for moving compared with 25 in 2011.

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