Census data identifies State’s economic black spots

Latest summary results suggest 79 districts have jobless rates of 27 per cent or more

The employment figure for construction in 2016 was up 15,092 on the 2011 figure, according to the latest census analysis. Photograph: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

The employment figure for construction in 2016 was up 15,092 on the 2011 figure, according to the latest census analysis. Photograph: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg


There were 79 employment black spots in the country last year where more than 27 per cent of the local workforce identified themselves as being unemployed, according to the Census 2016 summary results published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Limerick city and county accounted for the highest number with average unemployment rate in 18 electoral districts put at 35.7 per cent.

Limerick city also accounted for eight out of the 10 electoral districts with the highest unemployment rates in the State, the figures showed.

The next worst area was Waterford city, where 31.5 per cent of the workforce in nine electoral districts told census officials that they were unemployed.

Dublin city recorded seven unemployment black spots, while south Dublin registered four.

The census found that the percentage of people who declared themselves unemployed was 12.9 per cent, compared with the official rate, at the time, of 8.6 per cent.

The number of people at work in the Republic was just over two million in 2016, 12. 8 per cent up on 2011, albeit the participation rate fell slightly during the period, which saw a significant exodus of workers in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.

The number of retired people increased by 19.2 per cent to 545,407 during the period also.

Participation rates

Male participation fell to 67.8 per cent, bringing it back below 2002 rates, while female participation continued to increase and stood at 55.2 per cent. When looked at by nationality, the results show that the participation rate among Irish nationals was 59.5 per cent, while among non-Irish nationals it was 73.9 per cent.

The figures show there were 293,830 non-Irish nationals at work in the State in 2016, an increase of 9.6 per cent on 2011.

The number of women looking after the home or family continued to decline, falling by 11.5 per cent between 2011 and 2016, while the number of men in this category increased by 15 per cent to 20,747, which accounted for 6.8 per cent of all homemakers.

When considering employment on a sector-by-sector basis, the figures show four-fifths of those at work (78.6 per cent) were employed in the services sector.

Health and social work saw the biggest increase in numbers employed, with 25,647 more people working in this area.

Other sectors that chalked up notable increases were computer and related activities (up by 21,877 or more than 50 per cent) and construction (up 15,092).

The data shows there were 427,128 students aged 15 and over, an increase of 4.5 per cent on the previous census.

In terms of travel patterns, 1.88 million people were found to be commuting to work, an increase of 10.7 per cent on 2011.

The lion’s share (73.3 per cent) travelled to work in a private vehicle, down from 75.5 per cent in 2011 while some 9.3 per cent – 174,569 – used public transport, an increase of 30,144.

Cycling to work has shown the largest percentage increase of all means of transport, rising from 39,803 in 2011 to 56,837 in 2016, an increase of 42.8 per cent over five years.