Saturday 21 April 2018

The east/west divide grows as population jumps 3.7pc

Two-tier recovery apparent in initial Census figures

Justin Gleeson: results show there will be a big impact on schools in high-growth areas
Justin Gleeson: results show there will be a big impact on schools in high-growth areas
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A two-tier recovery is apparent in the initial Census figures, which show a divide between the east and west of the country.

The overall population has jumped by 3.7pc over the past five years - a much slower growth than has been previously seen in other polls.

There are now 4,757,724 people living in Ireland - but despite the overall growth, the spread of that population increase is very uneven.

About 40pc of the electoral areas (of which there are around 3,500) have seen a decline in population, many of them in rural regions.

The highest increases were recorded in Dublin and the surrounding commuter towns.

Fingal saw the number of people living there jump by 8pc. This is down to people moving into those areas and also a young population starting families there.

Read more: Ireland's population has increased and more - 8 things you need to know from Census 2016

The largest outward migration came from Donegal, which lost 6,731 people and experienced a population drop of 1.5pc, the largest in the country.

The largest inward migration was in Dublin, which gained 7,981 and an overall population increase of 5.7pc.

Cities around Ireland also recorded population rises - including Cork, which increased by 5.4pc to 125,622. It marks an upturn for the city, which showed a population drop after the previous census.

There was some variance between city centre areas; for example parts of Galvone in Limerick inner city saw a drop in population of 24pc.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, a part of Ballymun saw a drop of 18.2pc. However, in Waterford, one part of the city centre saw a population jump of 15pc.

The change in population may be slightly above expectation due to an overestimation of emigration and immigration, but the final results will paint a clearer picture, according to CSO statisticians.


"It's a very mixed picture, we can see that parts of the country are reviving, but equally there are other places where there is an ongoing pattern of steady decline. We have a two-tier recovery," Piaras Mac Éinrí, a lecturer in Migration Studies in UCC, said.

"There isn't much inward investment going into the more rural parts of the country and that hasn't really changed."

Meanwhile, Justin Gleeson, of the All Ireland Research Observatory in NUI Maynooth, said that the data provided a good outline of where service provision now needed to be focused.

"The results show there will be particular issues for service provision down the line, particularly in the next 20 years," he said.

"In the high growth, younger areas there is going to be a big impact on services like schools and onto the third-level education sector - which is going to have a big impact. We must look at if they are equipped to handle this big wave of potential students coming down the line."

People being priced out of urban areas, particularly in the capital, helps to explain some of the emerging trends, according to Mr Gleeson, especially for families who are looking for areas where it is achievable to buy a family home.

"Lifestyle changes and changes in flexibility in work are all likely to feed into it as well," he said.

Read more: Census 2016: Reverse the bedsit ban and four other ways to fix the housing crisis

This year also showed another drop in the ratio of men to women. Men are outnumbered by 978 to 1,000 - the lowest point it has ever reached.

There some areas where this trend is bucked, albeit only slightly. In Monaghan there are 385 more men, while in Roscommon there are 196, and in Leitrim there are 92 more men than women.

In South Tipperary there are 119 more men than women, but the largest difference can be found in Limerick county where there are 620 more men.

The CSO said that non-compliance for this year's census was very low, although a small number of people are facing prosecutions due to non-co-operation.

The problem of accessing people living in apartment blocks, which was flagged by the CSO during the process, did not lead to huge numbers of people missing out either. About 1pc of total dwellings could not be accessed at all.

Irish Independent

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