Increase in civil weddings and age of couples, CSO figures show
Statistics show ageing population and decline in credit card debt
Changes in the estimated population of those aged over 65 in 2016 show an increase of 21.4 per cent since 2010.
The age of Irish brides and grooms continues to grow with weddings today far more likely to be among those aged over 40 than ever before .
In the last ten years, the nature of weddings has also changed with declining numbers of Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland services and increases in civil, humanist and “other” religions.
The breakdown is provided through the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Yearbook of Ireland 2016 examining life over this year and last, pulling into sharp focus patterns across economic activity, social behaviour, crime and technology.
While only legalised in mid-November, same-sex marriages accounted for 0.4 per cent of overall unions in 2015 - 91 of 22,116.
Added to that, there were 376 civil partnership ceremonies last year, 250 between men and 126 between women.
In 2005, the average age of a groom in Ireland was 33.1 and a bride was 31. That has grown to 35.3 and 33.2 respectively while the percentage of marriages by brides over the age of 40 has increased from 7.6 per cent in 2005 to 12.2 per cent in 2015 (12.6 to 18.4 per cent for grooms).
Roman Catholic services have fallen from 16,854 in 2007 to 12,486 last year. Comparable rates of decline in Church of Ireland are 553 to 393.
Conversely, civil ceremonies have risen from 4,762 to 6,156 in the same period, and “other religions” from 32 to 804.
Meanwhile, the annual statistics show suicides rates have continued to decline in recent years, from a mid-recession height of 554 to 451 last year.
Ireland is changing slightly in other areas too. The birth rate has been declining with 65,909 registered in 2015, 1,553 fewer than in 2014 and 9,265 fewer than 2010. Last year, 224 children were born to mothers aged 45 and over.
People are now living longer. Changes in the estimated population of those aged over 65 in 2016 show an increase of 21.4 per cent since 2010.
According to the 2016 Census, the population increased by 169,724 people or 3.6 per cent, most notably in Leinster.
Unemployment is falling. The number of those without jobs has dropped from 275,000 in 2009 to 254,500 in 2014 and 211,200 in 2015.
And while Brexit looms, the value of exports in 2015 increased by 21 per cent for the year, while imports grew by 13 per cent. The CSO found 2015 represented the highest level of both exports and imports on record.
Positive trends have been felt by individual businesses and in the pockets of consumers. Last year, retail sales grew across all businesses by 8.2 per cent for the year and industrial production increased by 38.5 per cent.
In 2015, 29.7 million passengers passed through Ireland’s five main airports, an increase of 12.5 per cent over 2014. There were almost 232,000 commercial flights.
The CSO asks whether Irish consumers have lost their appetite for credit cards - last year there were 1,884,000 carrying overall debt of €1.96 billion, a 10.8 per cent drop on 2014.
Household debt to banks fell to €91.9bn from €96.9bn in 2014 while deposits increased from €91.4bn to €94.7bn.
Average earnings have improved in most sectors; the largest, 4.7 per cent, in information and communications jobs to an average height of €56,000. Average incomes in 2015 stood at €45,075 for full-time employees and at €16,332 for part-time.
There were 121,110 new private cars licensed in 2015, a rise of 31.1 per cent; the largest gain since the beginning of the recession in 2008.
But there are other trends, outside of finances, that shape Irish life. In criminal behaviour, there were 62 recorded homicides in 2015, the lowest in 13 years. Burglary and theft offences fell too, while there were more fraud and sexual crimes.
Modern and traditional Ireland offer portals into a changing world. About 90 per cent of Dublin homes enjoy internet access compared to 79 per cent in the West. Businesses embracing social media were at the second highest rate in the EU (64 per cent).
Agriculture, a pillar of Irish life, has also changed. The total area used for potato production in 2015 was 9,000 hectares compared to 309,000 hectares in 1855. In the same period, cattle numbers have increased from 2.85 million to a peak of 7.64 million in 1998 and 6.96 million last year.
*Same-sex marriages accounted for 0.4 per cent of overall unions in 2015 - 91 of 22,116.
*62 murders (lowest in 13 years)
*9,000 hectares of potato farming in 2015 (compared to 309,000 in 1855)
*224 children were born to mothers aged 45 and over.
*90 per cent of Dublin homes have internet access compared to 79 per cent in the West.
*64 per cent of Irish businesses use social media, second highest rate in the EU.
*Almost 1.9 million credit cards in Ireland in 2015 (1,884,000) with debt of €1.96bn. 10.8 per cent less than 2014.
*Average incomes: €45,075 for full time workers and €16,332 for part time.