Census reveals Ireland’s oldest and youngest towns

Average age of population now 37.4 years and numbers aged over 65 is up by 19%

The average age of the population is now 37.4 years up from 36.1 years at the last census in 2011. Image: Getty

The average age of the population is now 37.4 years up from 36.1 years at the last census in 2011. Image: Getty


Ireland is getting older, and Kerry and Mayo are its oldest local authority areas, according to data released by the Central Statistics Office on Thursday.

Based on Census 2016, the profile data shows both the numbers of pre-school children and young adults have fallen while the numbers of those aged over 65 have grown by more than 19 per cent.

The average age of the population is now 37.4 years up from 36.1 years at the last census in 2011.

And more than 37 per cent of the population are aged 45 or more.

Killarney’s population is the oldest among large towns in the country, with an average age of almost 41 years, followed by Wexford town, where the average age is 39.4 years. Malahide, Co Dublin, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and Sligo town follow with average ages of more than 38 years.

At the youthful end of the scale, the population of Balbriggan had the youngest average age among large towns; 30.8 years.

The north Dublin town was followed by Maynooth, Co Kildare where the average age was 31.9, Ashbourne, Co Meath with 32.2, Navan, Co Meath with 33.1 and Portlaoise, Co Laois with 33.2.

In terms of electoral areas, the average age of people living in the commuter belt around Dublin and in the city centre was among the youngest, between 27 and 35 years, while areas such as Dalkey, Sandymount and Templeogue, on the south side of the city, and Howth, Sutton and Clontarf, on the north side, were in the 42 to 51 years bracket.

The youngest local authority area in the country is Fingal, with an average age of 34.3 years and Kerry and Mayo are the oldest local authority areas, with population averages of 40.2 years.

There are also a greater number of older populations, in the 42 to 51 years bracket, along the West coast of the country compared to the east coast.

Galway city, however, has a population in the youngest age bracket, 27 to 35 years, similar to other parts of the country with third level colleges.

Young people also tend to live in more urban environments, the data shows. The average age of the rural population was 2.4 years older than the urban population, and the divide has increased by half a year since the last census.

Women were also, on average, 1.3 years older than the men in their area.

The population as a whole has grown, by 3.7 per cent, to 4.76 million.

Within that, those aged 65 years or more grew most, up by 19 per cent, or more than 100,000, to in excess of 637,500. The number of people in this age group living in nursing homes also increased, by 1,960 to more than 22,700.

People are also living longer and the number of centenarians increased by more than 17 per cent on 2011. At the time of the census, on April 24th 2016, there were 456 who had reached 100 years old.

The greatest drop was in the youngest in our population, those aged four years or less. Their numbers fell by 7 per cent to just over 331,500. There was also a fall in the numbers of young people aged 19-24 years, by 6.5 per cent.

The numbers of primary school children and secondary school children grew by almost 9 per cent and almost 8 per cent respectively.

The report also said there were 76,207 children living in flats and apartments and 392,119 kids in rental accommodation. The number of older people living in private households, increased by almost 20 per cent.