Census finds population growing
The 2011 census results shows the number of Irish residents who were born outside the country has reached a new high of just over 750,000, a 25 per cent increase since 2006.
Whilst it was thought that many immigrants left Ireland in recent years, the number of non-Irish nationals increased by 124,604 between 2006 and 2011, with the Polish, Indian, Romanian and Brazilian populations doubling in size.
Overall, Ireland's population has continued to grow strongly with the population reaching 4.58 million, the highest in 150 years.
The results also point to a continued shift in population growth towards commuter-belt areas and suburbs outside the major cities and towns since the last census results in 2006.
Laois had the fastest-growing population of any county (up 20 per cent), over twice the growth rate for the country as a whole. Other areas of rapid growth included Cavan, Fingal (both 14 per cent), Longford and Meath (both 13 per cent).
The only administrative areas to record a fall in population were Limerick city (down 5 per cent) and Cork city (down 0.4 per cent). The population of the surrounding counties rose by between 8 and 10 per cent.
The urban population is now at an all-time high with 62 per cent living in towns or cities, compared to 38 per cent in rural areas.
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The result show Ireland is still a predominantly Catholic country. Some 84 per cent of people described themselves as Roman Catholic, an increase of almost 5 per cent which was driven mainly by Eastern Europeans moving here.
The number of non-religious increased sharply, up 45 per cent to just under 270,000 people. This increases was greatest in the Dublin area.
The housing boom and collapse have also left their mark. The total number of vacant dwellings is 294,202, an increase of 27,880 since the 2006 census. The areas with the highest proportion of empty homes were mainly in the west. Leitrim had the highest proportion (30 per cent), followed by Donegal (28 per cent).
Families are also changing. While the proportion of people who were married remained stable at 37 per cent, there is an increase in the rate of marital breakdown. This figure - the proportion of separated or divorced as a total of those who were ever married - rose to almost 10 per cent.
The number of cohabiting couples is on the rise, but at a slower rate than in previous years. In total there were 143,000 unmarried couples living together. Of those co-habiting couples with children, the increase was some 41 per cent There was also an increase in the number of children born to lone parents, up 14 per cent between 2006 and 2011.
The census also threw up some surprises in relation to the gender breakdown of the country. There are now more females than males with 981 males for every 1,000 females.
Dublin had the lowest ratio with only 949 males for every 1,000 females, while the midlands was the only region to show more males than females with 1,002 for every 1,000.
The census was carried out on April 10th, 2011, with census staff collecting forms from just under two million dwellings.