This is Ireland, Part 2, was released this morning.  It provides macro-level (national and county) results for a broad set of socio-economic data: labour force, occupation, education, health, social class, travel pattern. There are some maps at ED level for unemployment and a couple of occupational sectors, but the full ED and Small Area data set will not be released until later in the summer.  At that stage, we’ll be able to get a much more detailed sense of how the economic crash has played out socio-economically at a local scale.

In this post, I’m just going to concentrate on the socio-economic group and class results.  Analysing these at a county level is problematic because aggregation effects mask the highly variable way in which these play out locally, nevertheless we can see the broad pattern changes.

Socio-economic grouping classifies the entire population into one of ten categories based on the level of skill and educational attainment of their occupation (inc. those at work, unemployed or retired, with dependents classed on the basis of whom they are deemed to be dependent).  There has been growth between 2006-11 (see Figure 1) at the higher, more skilled end of this classification, with increases in employers/managers, higher professional, lower professional and non-manual, whilst those dependent on manual work have declined (in line with job losses in related sectors such as construction).  Moreover, there is a broad spatial pattern to the data with a greater proportion of the highest two categories in and around Dublin reflecting the higher proportion of FDI and public sector jobs around the capital (see Figure 2).

There are also some marked gender contrasts in socio-economic group (Figure 3), with strong differences in the gender profile of some classes.  For example, men make up a much stronger proportion of manual, farmers, agricultural workers, self-employed, and are marginally more likely to be employers/managers, higher professional, semi-skilled and unskilled.  Women make up a strong proportion of lower professional, non-manual and other.  Whilst the balance of the top two classes of employers/managers and higher professional are getting better, it seems that a glass ceiling does still exist.


Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

The socio-economic group data is used as the basis for assigning households into a social class, based on almagmating occupations with similar skill sets together to produce seven classes: professional workers, managerial and technical, non-manual, skilled manual, semi-skilled, unskilled and other.  Figure 4 shows the distribution of social class by local authority.  Clearly the standout LAs are in the cities.  DLR has a disproportionate number of professional and managerial/technical classes, whereas Cork City, Waterford City and Limerick City have low rates compared to their surrounding hinterlands, reflecting the suburbanisation of professional/managerial labour.

Figure 4

Rob Kitchin


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