The AIRO team have produced an interactive data visualization of the initial results of the Northern Ireland census 2011.  The data visualization shows the results at district and province level for religion, economic status, national identity, country of birth, and age groups.

With respect to religion the headline statistics was that the percentage of the population who self-declared themselves Catholic has risen to 45.1%, just three percent less than self-declared Protestants (48.4%).  5.6% declared no religion and 0.9% other.  However, it one looks at the data at district level it is clear that very few districts have such a near 50/50 ratio of Catholics/Protestants.  Rather, most districts have a clear religious majority.

NI census

The economic status shows that 467,805 people are in employment, but also that 10,957 people who are unemployed have never worked and 29,324 are classed as long term unemployed.  Worryingly, of those unemployed over 40 percent in all districts are long term unemployed, illustrating the difficulties of re-entering the labour force after job loss in the present recession.

38.9% of the population of Northern Ireland declare themselves to be British, 25.3% Irish, 20.9% as Northern Irish, 6.1% as both British and Irish, and 5% as other.  Clearly the declaration of British maps somewhat imperfectly onto Protestant and the relationship between religion and nationality is by no means synonymous.

More than ten percent of the population were not born in Northern Ireland. 3.6% were born in England, 2.1% in the Republic of Ireland, 2% in EU Accession countries, 2% other, 0.85% Scotland, 0.54% elsewhere in Europe, 0.14% in Wales.

The population is quite youthful with 20.9% of people aged 0-15 and 12.6% aged 16-24.  27.5% are aged 25-44 and 24.4% aged 45-64.  14.6% of the population is at retirement age or older (65+) (the EU average is 16%).

Rob Kitchin and Eoghan McCarthy


Today saw the publication of Measuring Ireland’s Progress 2011 by the Central Statistics Office.  Based on 109 indicators, the report provides a fascinating summary of (a) how Ireland has changed over the past decade as it has transitioned from the Celtic Tiger to the crash; (b) a comparison of how Ireland is performing with respect to 32 other European countries.  The full report is here and a short, but detailed, summary is here.

In total, data is provided with respect to 109 indicators covering 10 domains and 49 sub-domains.  I’ve list all these domains, sub-domains and indicators below to illustrate the richness of this resource for making sense of how Ireland was faring economically, socially and environmentally in 2011.  The report is well illustrated with graphs and maps, and provides data in table form.  Well worth a read if you want to get a synoptic overview of the country vis-a-vis the past and our neighbours.

1. Economy

Gross Domestic Product

1.1 Ireland: GDP and GNI
1.2 EU: GDP and GNI at current market prices
1.3 EU: GDP growth rates
1.4 EU: GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards

Government debt

1.5 Ireland, EU and Eurozone: General government consolidated gross debt
1.6 EU: General government consolidated gross debt
1.7 EU: General government consolidated gross debt map

Public balance

1.8 EU: Public balance map
1.9 Ireland and Eurozone: Public balance
1.10 EU: Public balance
1.11 Ireland: Central and Local Government current expenditure

Gross fixed capital formation

1.12 Ireland and EU: Gross fixed capital formation
1.13 EU: Gross fixed capital formation

International transactions

1.14 EU: Current account balance
1.15 EU: Direct investment flows

International trade

1.16 EU: Exports of goods and services
1.17 EU: Imports of goods and services

Exchange rates

1.18 International: Bilateral euro exchange rates
1.19 Ireland: Harmonised competitiveness indicator

Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices

1.20 Ireland and EU: Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices
1.21 EU: Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices

Price levels

1.22 Ireland and EU: Comparative price levels of final consumption by private households
including indirect taxes
1.23 EU: Comparative price levels of final consumption by private households including
indirect taxes

2. Innovation and technology

Science and technology

2.1 Ireland: Mathematics, science and technology graduates


2.2 EU: Mathematics, science and technology PhDs awarded

Research and development expenditure

2.3 Ireland and EU: Gross domestic expenditure on R&D
2.4 EU: Gross domestic expenditure on R&D

Patent applications

2.5 Ireland and EU: European Patent Office applications
2.6 EU: European Patent Office applications

Household Internet access

2.7 Ireland: Private households with a computer connected to the Internet
2.8 EU: Private households with Internet access

3. Employment and unemployment

Employment rate

3.1 Ireland: Employment rates by sex
3.2 EU: Employment rates by sex

Labour productivity

3.3 Ireland: GDP in Purchasing Power Standards per hour worked and per person employed
3.4 EU: GDP in Purchasing Power Standards per person employed

Unemployment rate

3.5 Ireland and EU: Unemployment rates
3.6 EU: Unemployment rates by sex
3.7 Ireland and EU: Long-term unemployment rates
3.8 EU: Long-term unemployment rates by sex

Jobless households

3.9 Ireland: Population aged 18-59 living in jobless households
3.10 EU: Population aged 18-59 living in jobless households

Older workers

3.11 EU: Employment rate of persons aged 55-64 by sex

4. Social cohesion

Social protection expenditure

4.1 Ireland and EU: Social protection expenditure
4.2 EU: Social protection expenditure in Purchasing Power Parities per capita
4.3 EU: Social protection expenditure by type

Risk of poverty

4.4 EU: At risk of poverty rates
4.5 Ireland: At risk of poverty rates by age and sex
4.6 Ireland: Persons in consistent poverty by age and sex
4.7 Ireland: Persons in consistent poverty by principal economic status

Gender pay gap

4.8 EU: Gender pay gap

Voter turnout

4.9 Ireland: Numbers voting in Dáil elections
4.10 EU: Votes recorded at national parliamentary elections

Official development assistance

4.11 Ireland: Net official development assistance
4.12 EU: Net official development assistance

5. Education

Education expenditure

5.1 Ireland: Real current public expenditure on education
5.2 Ireland: Student numbers by level
5.3 EU: Public expenditure on education

Pupil-teacher ratio

5.4 EU: Ratio of students to teachers
5.5 EU: Primary and lower secondary average class size

Third-level education

5.6 Ireland: Persons aged 25-34 with third-level education
5.7 EU: Persons aged 25-34 with third-level education by sex


5.8 Ireland: Student performance on the reading, mathematical and scientific literacy

scales by sex

5.9 EU: Student performance on the reading, mathematical and scientific literacy scales

Early school leavers

5.10 Ireland: Early school leavers by labour force status and sex
5.11 Ireland: Proportion of the population aged 20-64 with at least upper secondary education
5.12 EU: Early school leavers

6. Health

Health care expenditure

6.1 Ireland: Current public expenditure on health care
6.2 EU: Total expenditure on health as percentage of GDP

Life expectancy

6.3 Ireland: Life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by sex
6.4 EU: Life expectancy at birth by sex

7. Population

Population distribution

7.1 Ireland: Population distribution by age group
7.2 Ireland: Household composition
7.3 EU: Population
7.4 EU: Population change


7.5 Ireland: Migration and natural increase
7.6 Ireland: Immigration by country of origin
7.7 Ireland and EU: Rate of natural increase of population
Age of population 7.8 Ireland: Age dependency ratio
7.9 EU: Young and old as proportion of population aged 15-64


7.10 Ireland and EU: Total fertility rate
7.11 EU: Total fertility rate

Lone parent families

7.12 Ireland: Lone parent families with children aged under 20 by sex of parent

Living alone

7.13 Ireland: Persons aged 65 and over living alone by sex


7.14 EU: Divorce rate

8. Housing

Dwelling completions

8.1 Ireland: Dwellings completed
8.2 Ireland: Nature of occupancy of private households


8.3 Ireland: Housing loans paid
8.4 Eurozone: Interest rates for household mortgages (new business)

9. Crime

Recorded crimes and detection

9.1 Ireland: Recorded crimes by type of offence rates

9.2 Ireland: Detection rates for recorded crimes

Recorded incidents

9.3 Ireland: Recorded incidents of driving/in charge of a vehicle while over legal alcohol
limit per 100,000 population
9.4 Ireland: Recorded incidents of burglary per 100,000 population
9.5 Ireland: Recorded incidents of controlled drug offences per 100,000 population


9.6 Ireland: Recorded victims of murder/manslaughter

10. Environment

Greenhouse gases

10.1 Ireland: Total net greenhouse gas emissions
10.2 EU: Net greenhouse gas emissions and Kyoto 2008-2012 target

Energy intensity of economy

10.3 Ireland: Gross inland consumption of energy divided by GDP
10.4 EU: Gross inland consumption of energy divided by GDP

River water quality

10.5 Ireland: River water quality

Urban air quality

10.6 Ireland: Particulate matter in urban areas

Acid rain precursors

10.7 Ireland: Acid rain precursor emissions

Waste management

10.8 Ireland: Total municipal waste generated, recovered and landfilled
10.9 EU: Municipal waste generated and treated


10.10 Ireland: Private cars under current licence
10.11 EU: Passenger cars per 1,000 population aged 15 and over
10.12 Ireland and EU: Share of road transport in total inland freight transport
10.13 EU: Share of road transport in total inland freight transport
10.14 Ireland and EU: Index of inland freight transport volume
10.15 EU: Index of inland freight transport volume


Rob Kitchin

Having generated interactive mapping tools at Electoral Division level on the 31st of July, AIRO has expanded the CSO Census 2011 mapping toolkit to include data using the latest Small Areas boundary set.  In total 130 maps and 975 variables are available across 15 themes.

Small Area boundaries (created by the National Centre of Geocomputation at NUI Maynooth for Ordnance Survey Ireland) are considerably smaller than Electoral Divisions and offer a significantly better level of detail in terms of analysing data spatially. There are approximately 18,488 Small Area units in comparison to 3,409 Electoral Divisions. A Small Area boundary is usually comprised of approximately 80-100 households per unit and have an average size of 3.5km2. In comparison, an Electoral Division can has an average size of over 20km2. When analysing data spatially at Electoral Division level much of the detail is lost across the larger boundary area. With the Small Areas data, the user is now in a position to analyse data that in certain areas can be viewed at housing estate level.

Compare the two maps in the image below. They both contain the same data (% Population Unemployed 2011) but one is mapped at Electoral Division level and the other at Small Area. Note the increase level of detail and the differing distributions across the Dublin area. The increased level of detail allows users to identify trends and patterns in local areas that previously would have been overlooked.


How to explore Census 2011 data at Small Areas Level:

On the AIRO site go to the Census mapping module section and select the “Local Authority Module”. Choose which local authority you wish to analyse and within the map window use the “Data” button to select what Census data you wish to view and the “Change Geography” button to select Electoral Division or Small Area level geography.

Aoife Dowling and Eoghan McCarthy


The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today released the small area population statistics (SAPS) from the 2011 census. For the first time users will now have access to the full set of census variables at the Electoral Division (ED) and new Small Area (SA) level across Ireland. Over the last couple of weeks the All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) has been working closely with the CSO to provide the public with a new set of mapping tools that will allow users take full advantage of the incredible amount of census data now available. This is a major step forward for evidence informed planning in Ireland and users (general public, public sector and private sector) now have access to a free and fully interactive set of on-line tools to get a better understanding of areas and regions across the country. Through AIRO we have developed a National Census Mapping Viewer and a set of individual census mapping tools for every Local and Regional Authority in the country. To get access to the main AIRO census home page use the following link:

National Census Mapping Viewer

On the National Census Mapping Viewer ( we have prepared maps for over 130 variables and have grouped them into the following 14 themes: Population, Religion, Nationality, Education, Social Class, Principal Economic Status, Industry of Employment, Occupation, Housing, Cars per Households, Transport, Communications, Health and Disability. For this mapping tool we are using ArcGIS Viewer for Flex from ESRI, a really useful mapping technology when you are dealing with a very large number of geographical boundaries (3,406 EDs and approx 18k SAs). At present we have just included the mapping at electoral division (ED) level on the national viewer, this will be updated with the full set of small area (SA) data in the coming weeks. We have, however, added unemployment data at SA level for today’s launch and so is the first time that we actually see the full scale of the unemployment problem at the very local level.

To use the tool users simply turn on a theme on the left hand panel and then ‘check’ the map of interest. Remember that you can only show one map at a time with the top checked layer being the one on display – it might take a few moments to get the hang of it but it’s fairly straight forward. To get more information about an area just click on an ED and a pop-up window will provide a very short and basic commentary and a graphic providing more information on the variable. Let’s have a look at some examples:

% Population Aged > 65 plus: This map provides a useful visualization of the distribution of the elderly population across Ireland. As expected we are seeing much higher proportions of elderly population within EDs in rural and peripheral parts of the country.

% population UK by Nationality: The nationality data available at the ED and SA level is broken down into six groupings, users can choose from Irish, UK, Polish, Lithuanian, Other EU 27 or Rest of the World. Each map provides interesting trends and certainly shows some fascinating patterns within urban areas. The map below details the distribution of those whose nationality is classed as UK. What’s striking about this map is the clear pattern of high percentages in south-west cork, north-east Clare/south Galway and a wider area of higher percentages in the Roscommon/Leitrim/Mayo area.

% of Households with Central Heating powered by Peat: There are more than 25 different variables within the housing theme on our national viewer. Maps are available on:

  • type of housing unit (detached, semi-d, flat/apartment etc)
  • age of housing unit (only 2000 to 2005 and post 2006 included at the moment – let us know if you’d like more)
  • tenure (owner occupied, rented etc)
  • type of water supply (group scheme, private scheme etc)
  • type of sewage system (public scheme, individual septic tank etc)
  • and type of fuel used for central heating system.

This last category provides some really interesting maps and shows very clear patterns throughout the country for particular types of fuel. The map below shows the distribution of households that use Peat (including turf) as the primary source of fuel for central heating systems with higher proportions in the midlands and along the western seaboard and then an almost complete absence of use in much of the rest of the country.

Local and Regional Authority Mapping Modules:

As part of the AIRO project and our growing infrastructure of free mapping tools we have now updated all of our Local Authority and Regional Authority mapping modules with the 2011 Census data for Electoral Divisions. The data within each mapping tool mimic the themes that are available for download from the CSO. In total, each mapping module now has 975 individual variables (raw counts and pre calculated percentages and ratios) and includes data from 2006 where possible. Over the next week we will start to build in the Small Area data for each LA/RA, all going well this will be done by Thursday 9th of August. We are also hoping to update all of the mapping modules for Local Partnerships but this may take some time.

To access the mapping modules go to the main AIRO census page (click here) and choose from the drop down list for either LA or RA. Just click View once you’ve made your selection. Once it’s loaded you simply just click on ‘data’ and choose your indicator and away you go.

We hope you enjoy the new tools and they prove to be useful for the work that you do. We’re happy to take comments and suggestions on additional datasets that should also be included. We’re also planning to run a number of training sessions in the coming weeks and months, again please get in touch if you or your organisation are interested.

For further information please contact AIRO at the following: email –, phone – 353 1 7086688


AIRO National Census Mapping Viewer:

Local and Regional Authority Mapping Modules:

CSO SAPSMap data download site:

Justin Gleeson & Aoife Dowling

If there was trend that sums up the excesses of the Celtic Tiger bubble this is it: between 1991-2011, for every 1000 new households, 1,493 housing units were built; for every 1000 new people added to the population, 874 housing units were built.

According the Dept of Environment data between January 1991 and December 2010 there were 933,404 housing units built in Ireland.

As recorded in the Census 2011, between April 1991 and April 2011, households grew by 625,124; the population grew by 1,062,533 in the same period.

Growth in housing stock, households and population 1991-2011

Even accounting for obsolescence and replacement (approx 72,000 units based on the difference between housing stock change in the 91/11 censuses and total constructed units), we were building way in excess of demand, hence the high level of present oversupply.

Rob Kitchin

For the first time, the housing stock and vacancy data from the Census has been released at the new Small Area (SA) 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. (more…)

The initial evidence from Census 2011 indicates considerable stability in trends in family and household formation patterns since 2006.  Many of the changes in the composition of Irish families and households – as in other western societies – can be attributed to the postponement and  ‘unbundling’ of family life transitions, especially in early adulthood.  People are waiting longer to marry, set up house and have children, and the sequencing of those transitions is no longer as ordered or closely scheduled as in the past. (more…)

The definitive Census 2011 population figures have been published today. Election boundary changes (for general and European elections) will be made on the basis of these, but this time are taking place in the context of a decision by government to advise a reduction in Dail seat numbers by between 6 (160 seats) and 13 (153 seats). So what do these population figures mean in terms of which constituencies may, or may not, be likely to have their election boundaries changed following on the upcoming Consituency Commission report, especially given that this body effectively will have eight different options in terms of total Dáil seat numbers to choose from? (more…)

On Census night April 2011 there were 1,994,845 housing units in the state (up 12.72% from 2006, when there were 1,769,613).  1,649,408 of these units were occupied by the usual resident.  Of the remainder, 289,451 were vacant, 45,283 were absent on the night of the census but usually occupied, and 10,703 were occupied by guests.  Of the vacant stock, 59,395 were classed as holiday homes. (more…)

3.86m people (84.2%) of people living in Ireland defined themselves as Roman Catholic in April 2011, a decrease on the 87% who did so in 2006.  Due to general population increase, however, just under 180,000 more people define themselves as Catholic than in 2006. (more…)