Friday 21 September 2018

Revealed: The average household size rises for first time in more than 50 years

Stock photo
Stock photo

Paul Melia and Dr Mick Kerrigan

The average number of people living in households has risen for the first time in more than 50 years.

The lack of homes available as the housing crisis deepens is forcing adult children to stay living in the home for longer, as families settle in towns across the Greater Dublin Area and around our major cities.

The average household size stood at 2.81 in 2006, before falling to 2.73 in 2011 and rising to 2.75 in 2016, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows. The official statistics body says this is the first increase since 1966.

An analysis of census data reveals that in 24 towns, 30pc of the population live in households with five or more people. Termonfeckin in Co Louth has the highest ratio, at 38.1pc. There are seven towns where more than 33pc of households fall into this category - Ratoath, Dunboyne, Stamullen and Longwood in Co Meath, Barna in Co Galway and Tullyallen in Co Louth.

The highest increase is in Kinsealy-Drinan, Dublin, up 143pc to 22pc, a rise of 865 households. Falls were recorded in 58 towns, with the sharpest drop in percentage terms in Templemore, Co Tipperary, down 47pc or 375 households to 21.85pc.

The figures also highlight a similar pattern for households with four people. Of the 21 towns where more than 30pc of the population falls into this cohort, 15 are in Wicklow, Meath, Dublin and Kildare, highlighting how towns around Dublin are growing at the expense of those in rural areas.

Top of the list is Rathnew, Co Wicklow, where 33.79pc of the population live in a home with four people. This is an increase of 140pc, or 664 households. Outside of the Greater Dublin Area, others include Carrigtwohill and Carrigaline, both within 20km of Cork City, Moycullen in Co Galway and Ballina in north Tipperary, which is within easy reach of Limerick.

Among the reasons for growing household sizes in and around major urban areas is due to families settling close to places of employment. But the lack of homes available to rent or buy is also resulting in increases.

More than 95,000 families live in an overcrowded home, where there are more people than rooms. Census 2016 also shows there were almost 459,000 adult children living with their parents in April 2016, when the census was taken. The CSO says the average age at which people buy their first home has risen from 28 in 2006 to 36 in 2016.

The figures also show that 18.44pc of the population of Bantry in Cork live alone, the highest percentage in the country. The lowest proportion is in Tullyallen in Louth at just 3.36pc.

The data highlights how the highest rates of those living alone are in rural counties.

The Dublin town with the highest proportion of people living alone is Skerries at 7.17pc, ranked 142 out of 195 towns for which data is available. No town in Kildare, Meath or Wicklow is ranked in the top 70.

The highest percentage increase is in Sixmilebridge, Co Clare, up 104pc or 92 people. In absolute terms, 568 more people live alone in Wexford town in 2016 compared with 2006.

For two-person households, the highest proportion is Castlerea, Co Roscommon, at 27.8pc. The biggest increase was seen in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, at 67pc, or 195 households.

Some 24.44pc of households in Saggart, Co Dublin, live in a home with three people - the highest proportion. The biggest increase between 2006 and 2016 was seen in Newcastle, Co Dublin, up by 292 households or 96pc.

Irish Independent

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