The Census reveals that the population in Ireland in April 2011 was 4,588,252, a 8.2% increase on 2006.  This is the highest population in the 32 local authority areas since 1861.

Since 1991 the population has grown by 1,062,533 people (30.1%), a phenomenal rate of growth in the twenty years.

There is a varying geography to population change (see Figure 1 below and also AIRO graphing tool here).  There were nine counties where population growth between 2006-2011 was above 10%: Laois (20.13%), Cavan (14.34%), Fingal (14.17%), Longford (13.4%), Meath (13.08%), Kildare (12.87%), Cork County (10.48%), Wexford (10.3%) and Louth (10.45%).

Limerick City shrank by -4.49% and Cork City by -0.16%.  Waterford City grew by just 2.15%.  All other counties grew between 4-10%.

There was strong population growth at both the youngest and oldest cohorts.  Children aged 0-4 grew by 17.89% to 356,329.  People over the age of 85 grew 21.63% to 58,416.  The first is reflective of the high birth rate in Ireland over the past five years.  The latter highlights the extent to which Irish people are living much longer than previous generations.

The average household size fell from 2.81 persons in 2006 to 2.73 in 2011.  The number of households in the state is 1.654m, up 184,687 (12.57%) on 2006.  55.5% of that growth was in Leinster (102,611).  Munster increased by 45,728, Connacht by 22,301, and Ulster (part of) by 14,047.

The Traveller population in the state has increased by 7,138 (31.82%) to 29,573 between 2006-2011.  Traveller population increase has occurred in all local authorities with the exception of Limerick County and Waterford City, which have had small decreases (37 and 41 people respectively).  The Traveller population increased by over 50% in Carlow, Cavan, Donegal, Kildare and Louth, though these counties had relatively low populations in 2006.  The only local authority county with a Traveller population over 2,000 is Galway County.  Several local authorities have Traveller populations over 1,000: Cork County, Dublin City, Fingal, Galway City, Limerick County, Mayo, Offaly, South Dublin and Mayo.

Population change 2006-2011 at ED level

To download the Census 2011 data visit the CSO website here

To view interactive graphs/maps of Census 2011: visit

Justin Gleeson and Rob Kitchin