First official results of Census 2011 were released this morning

Results released at new Small Area level (18,488 areas)

All data available in tables from CSO and graphs and maps from AIRO, NUI Maynooth

The first set of definitive Census 2011 are released today, less than a year after being collected.  The results consist of the principal demographic results and provide us with a detailed snapshot of the country in April 2011.  The CSO report – This is Ireland – can be found here.

There are two big changes in how the census results are being released.

First, the results are being released simultaneously through the Central Statistics Office ( and the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) at NUI Maynooth (  The CSO are releasing the raw data in table form, along with detailed analysis, AIRO are providing interactive visualization tools that graph and map the data and allow time-series analysis.

Second, some of the data are being released at the new Small Area level. This new statistical geography, developed by the National Centre for Geocomputation at NUI Maynooth for Ordnance Survey Ireland, consists of 18,488 areas, typically consisting of 80-130 households.  For the first time these new Small Areas allow an analysis of census data at approximately estate or townland level.

Data visualization

The Census provides a massive amount of statistical data – results relating to all 4,588,252 people and 1,654,208 households in the state.  Traditionally these have been released as a set of detailed tables by the CSO.  Making sense of these tables can be challenge.  One way to help people interpret the results and make them more widely accessible is to visualize them as graphs or maps.

Working with the CSO, AIRO is providing three interactive visualization tools for understanding the Census results – two mapping tools (see Figure 1 and 2) and a graphing tool (Figure 3).  The first mapping tool covers the whole country.  The second mapping tool consists of over 40 mapping modules for all local and regional authorities.  Both include data at ED and SA level.  The 44 graphing modules covers a wider range of data at county level.

Figure 1: National Mapping Viewer (access here)

Figure 2: Regional/Local Authority Census Modules (access here)

Figure 3: Data Visualisation/Graphing Examples (access here)

No expert knowledge in statistics or mapping is required to use these tools – AIRO does all the hard work of organizing and displaying the data, leaving the user to simply interpret the Census results.

The aim is to enable citizens and policy makers to more effectively understand Ireland and to formulate and implement policy and programmes on an evidence-informed basis.  The data can therefore be used easily by local residents, planners, local and national government officials, and businesses to undertake analysis and make informed decisions.

Getting Access

All of the results provided in today’s Census 2011 release are available as interactive graphs and maps on the AIRO website.  The visualizations provide a fascinating insight into how Ireland has changed between 2006 and 2011.  The resource is free for everyone to use.

To download the Census 2011 data visit:

To view interactive graphs/maps of Census 2011: visit

A number of Maynooth academics have been examining the Census results from this morning and some initial analysis will appear on Ireland After NAMA over the next couple of hours.

Justin Gleeson\Aoife Dowling\Eoghan McCarthy and Rob Kitchin