Galway pips Dublin as most international city


SIXTY PER cent of Ireland’s population live in urban areas, which take up just 2.4 per cent of the country’s land mass, according to a further breakdown of Census 2011 statistics released yesterday.

The CSO data show population density increased across Ireland from 62 people per square kilometre in 2006 to 67 people per square kilometre in 2011.

However, while there are just 26 people per square kilometre living in rural areas this figure shoots up to 1,736 people per square kilometre in urban areas.

In Dublin city and suburbs the number of people per square kilometre stands at 3,498.

The statistics also reveal that almost one-third of people who were born outside of Ireland but living in the State reside in Co Dublin.

People who were born outside Ireland make up one-fifth of the population of Dublin. However, the capital is not the most international city in Ireland, a distinction held by Galway city, where one in four of the population was born outside Ireland.

County by county, Donegal has the highest percentage of residents born abroad – 22 per cent of residents were born outside Ireland, while Co Kilkenny was lowest at 12.6 per cent.

The title of largest town in Ireland is retained by Drogheda, with a population of 38,578 – the Louth town is still bigger than its neighbour Dundalk, from which it took the title in 2006.

Meanwhile, Ennis remains the largest town in Munster, with a population of 25,360; Letterkenny, with 19,588 residents, is the largest town in the three southern counties of Ulster; and Sligo is the largest town in Connacht, with a population of 19,452.

Saggart in south Co Dublin is Ireland’s fastest growing town, having seen a 150 per cent population jump between 2006, when 868 people were resident, and 2011 when 2,144 people were recorded as living in the town.

Courtown in Co Wexford is the second fastest growing town, more than doubling in population in the past five years.

Longford witnessed the greatest urbanisation growth between censuses: one-third of people now live in urban settings compared to just over one-quarter five years ago.

Co Leitrim is the country’s most rural county, where 90 per cent of the population live in a rural setting. Leitrim people are also the most likely to have set up home in a place other than their county of birth – almost 40 per cent of those Leitrim-born, with one in 10 of them relocating to Dublin.

By contrast Donegal-born people were the least likely to have moved county. Just 13.2 per cent of those born in Donegal and living in Ireland were usually resident in another county.

Meath, not Dublin, had the highest population of residents born outside the county, with 62.9 per cent falling into this category (47.6 per cent were born in another county, while 15.3 per cent were born outside Ireland).

A quarter of those born in Dublin lived outside the county.

Meanwhile, 114,617 households moved in the year leading up to April 2011, a fall of 21 per cent on the same figure in 2006. A large majority of those who moved in this time – 80 per cent – are now renting. By contrast there was a huge slump in the number who moved to a new home which they owned. Just 13 per cent, or 14,707 households, moved to homes they owned.

There are now 102 more towns in Ireland than there were five years ago. This is partly due to a tightening up of the definition of a town as per UN guidelines for this latest census. A “census town” is now defined as “a cluster with a minimum of 50 occupied dwellings, with a maximum distance between any dwelling and the building closest to it of 100 metres, and where there was evidence of an urban centre”.


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The number of people living in Galway city who were born outside the State, making it the most international of Ireland’s five cities


The number of people over the age of one who moved out of Co Dublin in the year leading up to Census 2011 – Kildare was the most common destination


The population of Drogheda, Ireland’s largest town. Ennis (25,360) remains the largest town in Munster.

The largest town in Connacht is Sligo (19,452), while Letterkenny is the largest in the southern part of Ulster with 19,588 persons