Almost 7,000 people homeless in Ireland, census shows

The new figures reveal 27 per cent of those experiencing homelessness are children

Almost one in five homeless people are in employment, according to the latest update from Census 2016.

A report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) dealing specifically with homelessness found that 17 per cent or 899 of the 6,906 homeless people in Ireland have are working.

A total of 607 homeless persons were unable to work because of a disability, representing 12 per cent of all homeless and almost three times as many as the 4.2 per cent of the general population.

There were 429 students, 8 per cent of the total, who were homeless on the night the census was taken - April 24th 2016.


The analysis of the figures showed that 27 per cent of homeless are children, 1,846.

Females account for 42 per cent of the total - 2,888 - and 48 per cent of homeless are male, 4,018.

According to the CSO figures 896 families were homeless including 1,726 in those families.

They also reveal that 17 per cent of those who are homeless are working and that 4 per cent are over 65 years of age.

The Dublin region accounts for the vast majority - 73 per cent - of those who are experiencing homelessness.

The CSO also found that 14 per cent of those who are homeless are non-Irish.

The statistics also reveal that the average age of a homeless person is 31, six years younger than the national average age of the population - 37.

Homeless families in hotels and B&Bs are included in the census for the first time.

Senior CSO statistician Deirdre Cullen said it was particularly challenging to compile the figures on homelessness. "We are very aware of the sensitivities involved and that behind each and every single one there is a person who has been affected."

She said the figures showed a new cohort of homeless than the traditionally understood pattern of homelessness which includes 123 sleeping rough, 102 males, 19 females, with 102 of them in Dublin.

They were seeing more people who have “tripped up” economically she said.

The 896 families - 2,968 people - among the homeless population, accounted for 43 per cent of all those who were without permanent accommodation.


There were 67 couples without children and of the remainder 567 were one-parent families with women accounting for 96 per cent of those, according to the figures.

The patterns of figures showed higher levels of disability than in the general population, poorer levels of health and lower education levels, Ms Cullen added.

National spokeswoman for the Simon Community Niamh Randall highlighted the increases in homelessness since the last census with the number of families up by 202 per cent and the number of households headed by one parent up by 206 per cent.

Ms Randall said the high proportion of lone parent families showed the absence of “income adequacy” and the inequity in income policy.

Ms Randall said that as part of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland programme, there should be a sub-strategy specifically on homelessness “to deal with the issue once and for all”.

The figures also show that 14 per cent of the homeless are non-Irish compared to 11 per cent of the general population, according to the CSO.

Some 38 per cent or 1,606 homeless persons did not have a third level qualification compared to 27 per cent of the general population. A total of 955 indicated that they were educated to at least upper secondary level and 422 to third level.

The rate of separation or divorce among homeless people at just over 12 per cent was over twice that of the general population at 6 per cent. However 22 per cent of those deemed homeless on census night did not provide information about their marital status.

Analysis of the figures also showed that 55 per cent of homeless people aged 15 and over were single, compared to 41 per cent of the general population.

And while almost 48 per cent of general population were either married or remarried, just 9 per cent of the homeless were.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times