THE number of divorcees has soared by 150pc in the last decade. At the 2002 Census -- the first following the introduction of divorce in 1996 -- there were 35,059. That has now increased to 87,770.
By contrast, the number of separated people has levelled off at 116,194 -- up fractionally from 107,263 five years earlier.
Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician with the Central Statistics Office (CSO), attributed the apparent contradiction to the fact that couples have to be separated for up to five years before they can get divorced.
"Because divorce only happens in Ireland following a period of separation, no doubt we are seeing a move from one category to the other," Ms Cullen said.
The divorce increase has pushed the marital breakdown rate up from 8.7pc in 2006 to 9.7pc in 2011.
Limerick city had the highest rates at 13.5pc, followed by Waterford city and Dublin city.
Galway county had the lowest at 7.5pc.
Some 88,918 men ranked themselves separated or divorced, compared with 115,046 women.
Despite the marital breakdown figures, there were 143,588 more married people in Ireland than five years ago, although the percentage of the population who are married remained stable at about 37pc.
In 2002, 21,400 divorcees remarried, but that figure jumped to 42,960 in April of last year.
Meanwhile, the percentage of single people aged over 15 has fallen from 43.1pc in 2006 to 41.7pc last year.
There were 44.3pc of single men, but there were only 39.2pc of single women.
As expected, the vast majority (93pc) of first marriages were between people aged under 40.
The long-running trend of families having fewer children has slowed, with the average number of children at 1.38, down from 1.41 in 2006.
Of all the families in Ireland, 143,600 were made up of co-habiting couples -- up 21,800 on the 2006 figure.
Some 4,042 same-sex couples were living together -- 2,321 men and 1,721 women. The report shows that 230 were couples with children, with the vast majority being female couples.
Most same-sex couples were simply living together, but 166 said they were married.
There were 215,300 families headed by lone parents -- 87pc of which were lone mothers.
The biggest increases in the numbers of children were among women in their 30s.
In 2006, they gave birth to 460,095, but that had risen 11pc to 510,879 in the three months around April 2011.
Offaly was the most fertile county. It had the highest rate of children to women over 45 at 3.15, followed by Donegal at 3.12 and Monaghan at 3.11.