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Census: Kerry population grows but county likely to stay a Dáil five seater


Kerry's population has grown to over 155,000. Stock photo

Kerry's population has grown to over 155,000. Stock photo

Kerry's population has grown to over 155,000. Stock photo


THE population of Kerry has grown by just over five per cent since 2016 and now stands at more than 155,000 according to the first results of the 2022 census.

The Central Statistics Office released the preliminary results of the April 3 census – containing basic population and housing figures – on Thursday.

There are currently 155,258 people living in Kerry of whom the majority, 78,566, are women and 76,692 are men.

Census results also show that of the 7,551 people who joined Kerry’s population since 2016, 4,942 had moved to the county from Ireland or abroad.

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The remaining 2,609 were born in the county since the 2016 count.
Kerry’s population growth rate was significant but it was also among the lowest in the county with only Donegal and Kilkenny recording smaller increases.

While census data is used to guide Government policy across a vast swathes of issues the most immediate impact of these initial population figures will be on the next General Election and the makeup of the Dáil.

Under the Constitution there must be one TD for every 20,000 to 30,000 citizens. With Ireland’s population now at a little over 5.1 million the number of TDs in the Dáil will have to increase by around 10 – from the current 160 – to meet the constitutional requirement as closely as possible.

Kerry – with 31,052 inhabitants per TD – would technically be entitled to another Dáil representative, which would require the county to again by split into two three seat constituencies rather than the current single five seater.

However, this move – which would have enormous political ramifications – appears highly unlikely.

Of Ireland’s 40 Dáil constituencies 39 now have a population to TD ratio of over 30,000. While 20 constituencies now have a ratio of 32,000 or 33,000 people to each of their TDs.

As a result it would be expected that any changes urged by the Constituency Commission – which will likely be formed by Government in the coming weeks and will take around a year to complete its work – will be focussed on those counties with the very highest TD to constituent ratios.