Young adult population in State drops 12%


THE NUMBER of young adults living in the State has fallen by more than a tenth since 2006, results of the April 2011 census show.

The 19 to 24 age group was the only cohort to fall, with a decrease of 12 per cent, since the last census, according to the Older and Younger results released yesterday by the Central Statistics Office.

Emigration by young adults was a factor in the decline, the report said. However, a lower birth rate in the late 1980s compared with the high rate of the early 1980s was given as the main reason for the decline in population of this cohort.

Every county saw a fall in its young adult population but the largest drop-off was in Galway city, which saw a fall of more than a quarter since 2006.

Overall, the population of the State became older since 2006, with the average age increasing by half a year to 36.1 years.

The difference in average age between the youngest area (Fingal 32.9 years) and oldest area (Cork city 38.7 years) was 5.8 years.

The fastest ageing population areas were the cities of Limerick, Galway and Cork which showed an average increase in age of more than a year.

The rural population was on average two years older than the urban population, the report found. Counties Meath, Limerick, Fingal and Laois had rural populations that were, on average, four years older than their urban counterparts. The number of centenarians increased by 100 in the past five years.

The overall female population was, on average, half a year older than the male population.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s female population was, on average, 2.4 years older than males.

The census showed some changes in the sex ratio which was at its lowest ever level with just 981 males for every 1,000 females.

Higher inward migration of women over men resulted in a complete reversal of the sex ratio in the 25-29 age group.

In 2006, there were 1,030 men for every 1,000 women but by 2011, this was 927 men for every 1,000 women.

The 2006 census was taken before the property crash while the 2011 census was taken four years into a recession. This may account for a trend towards renting and apartment living.

There was a doubling of the adult (24 to 64) age group living in rented accommodation since 2002. More than a quarter of this age group as a whole rented their accommodation by 2011.

There was a 91 per cent increase in this age group living in flats and apartments since 2002.

There was also a sharp increase in the number of children living in flats and apartments, with a 50 per cent increase in the 0-4 age group since 2006.

Despite the increase, only 7 per cent of all pre-school children lived in apartments or flats with 42 per cent living in detached homes.

An increase in young people living at home could be related to increasing unemployment and declining economic resources.

Two-thirds of young adults (19 to 24) were living at home, the census found. This was matched by a fall of a fifth in the number of young adults living with friends or flatmates.

The figures also showed an increase in one-parent households. A fifth of primary-school children lived in one-parent households, an increase of almost 20 per cent since 2006.

Since 1926, the population of the State has increased by more than 54 per cent. Leinster’s population has more than doubled while Connacht’s population has declined by 2 per cent since 1926.

The adult population (25-64) increased by almost 10 per cent (9.6)

The census was carried out on April 10th, 2011, with census staff collecting forms from just under two million dwellings. The previous census was in 2006.