The CSO have released the age profile data from Census 2011.  They have produced a nice booklet providing some summary analysis.  We have produced a few interactive data visualisations of the data on AIRO.  Here are a summary of some of the trends.

The population as a whole is ageing and all age cohorts increased in size with the exception of 19-24 year olds.  This is partly to do with recent emigration but is more reflective of a low birth rate in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  The birth rate in 1980 was 74,064.  In 1994, the lowest rate and presently aged 17-18, it was 48,255.  In 2010 it was 76,762.  In other words, this is a small cohort working its way up the population pyramid.

This pattern is not universal.  Cork city, Galway city and Limerick city all have quite high populations aged 18-30, reflective of high student numbers.  There is a noticeable drop age 30+ as people move out the city at family formation age.  This is also evident in the relatively low rates of children in these areas.

There has been a large increase of 17.9% (2006-09) to 356,329 in children aged 0-4.  This increase was experienced everywhere, but was particularly high in the suburbs and commuting counties.  For example, there has been a 72% increase in 0-4 aged children in Fingal between 2002-2011.  Similarly, there has been a growth (12%) in 5-12 year olds.  However, this age group dropped in number in Cork City and Limerick City, and the other cities for secondary school age children.  This is partly due to the lower birth rates in the late 1990s/early 2000s working its way through, but also migration of families out of the city centres.  Interestingly, there has been a 50% increase in the number of 0-4 year old children living in apartments (just over 20,000 overall).  There has also been a slight drop in the rate of 0-4 year old children living in one parent families to 15.4% (19.1% for 5-12).

There was a 14.4% increase to 535,393 in the number of people over the age of 65 in the state, with 389 over the age of 100.  The over 65s constitute 11.7% of the population (one of the lowest rates in the EU – average is 16%).

Despite the strong growth in children, the average age in the state has increased slightly to 36.1.  There is a slight variation around the country, with the average age being 38.7 in Cork City and 32.9 in Fingal, reflective of the large number of family units in the latter.  The west has a slightly higher average age than the east, and rural areas are slightly higher than urban areas.  There are just three counties with falling average ages – Laois, Cavan and Longford, due to strong in-migration and natural increase.

Given the number of births and the declining death rate, the age dependency ratio (the ratio of children under the age of 14 and adults over 65 to the working age population of 15-64) has risen from 45.8% in 2006 to 49.3%.  Given that children are for the most part dependent until at least 18, it is clear that the dependency ratio is for all intents and purposes well over 50%.  In other words, over 50% of the population are largely dependent on the remaining population for some level of support.  The youth dependency rate is 31.9% and the old age rate is 17.4%.  Rural counties tend to have higher old age dependency rates, for example, Mayo, Leitrim and Cavan, due to younger migration to urban areas.  Meath and Laois have high youth dependency rates, with Cork city and Dublin city having the lowest.

Finally, there are slightly more women in the state then men, with the lowest ratio on record of 981 men/1000 women.  The profile varies across the country, with slightly more men in rural areas between the ages of 20 and 70 and in urban areas under the age of 20.  After the age of 20 there are slightly more women in urban areas due to migration patterns.  After 70, women outnumber men in both rural and urban areas.

Rob Kitchin

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