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Census of Population


The Census of Population is a detailed count of every person living in the State on a particular date, including people who are not usually resident here.

It takes place every 5 years and is carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The 2011 census was taken on 10 April 2011. The previous census was in April 2006.

Under Sections 26 and 27 of the Statistics Act 1993 there is a legal obligation to complete the census form.

Reasons for holding a census

The Census of Population establishes the size of the population in the State. Up-to-date population statistics are essential to help to plan for services to meet demand for healthcare and education, for example. Detailed figures at local level help to identify areas of high unemployment and deprivation as well as the likely demand for local services and facilities.

The census also helps to provide an accurate measure of net migration (the difference between inward and outward migration).

Article 16.2 of the Constitution lays down that the total membership of Dáil Éireann depends on the population as measured by the census. There must be one TD for each 20,000 to 30,000 persons. A Constituency Commission must be set up to review Dáil and European Parliament constituencies once the preliminary results of the census have been published.

How the census is run

Teams of enumerators deliver census forms to every household and to every other type of place where people may be present on census night (such as hotels, guesthouses, hospitals, ships). Everyone who is actually on the premises in census night, including visitors, should be counted.

You should also enter the details (on List 2) of anyone who usually lives there but is away on census night. If there will be nobody at all present on that night, the enumerator gives you a different form (Form E) to sign.

The questionnaire includes such topics as age, marital status, sex, place of birth, principal economic status, occupation and industry, and housing characteristics.

All the information that you give on the census form is confidential. The CSO only uses it for statistical purposes. Your name and address are not entered on any computer database, and no other organisation (including government departments or agencies) can access information from the census that would identify a household or a person in any way.

Practical arrangements

Census enumerators call to all households to deliver forms by census night and they call back to collect completed forms over the following couple of weeks.

Enumerators all carry ID, which you can ask to see if you wish. They can help with any queries about the census form. They can also help if you have difficulty completing the form.

When you have completed the form on census night, sign the declaration at the end of the form and keep it safe until your enumerator calls back to collect it. If nobody at all is present on census night, you should have Form E instead of the census form.

The 2011 census form

You can view a sample copy of the census form and a list of the questions, together with detailed explanations. There is also a step-by step guide to the form, written in plain English.

There were two new questions in 2011. They asked for each person's knowledge of a language other than English or Irish, and each person's general health.

The form is available in English and Irish versions. The text was translated into over 20 foreign languages and background information is available in these languages as well. The translated text is only for information purposes. The form could be completed in English or Irish only.

The form is also available in large print format, in Braille, cassette and CD versions. You can also download the audio version of the form in 5 sections. The large print, Braille and audio versions are provided for information purposes only. Responses had to be written on the paper form in the usual way.

Results of Census 2011

The first definitive results of the Census have been published. The total population was recorded as 4,582,252, representing an increase of 348,404 persons (8.2%) since 2006. The full range of results will be released gradually (pdf).

Further information about Census 2011 is available on

Where to apply

Census Enquiries

Central Statistics Office
Swords Business Campus
Balheary Road

Tel:+ 353(0)1 895 1321
Locall:1890 236 787
Fax:+353(0)1 895 1399

Page edited: 12 April 2012



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