Census of Population

Introduction

The census of population is a detailed count of every person living in Ireland on a particular date.

It takes place every 5 years and is carried out by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The most recent census was in April 2016. The next census was planned to take place on 18 April 2021. This has been moved to 3 April 2022 because of COVID-19.

Under the Statistics Act, everyone in the State must complete or be included on the census form.

Why do we have a census?

The census establishes the population of the State. It also helps the Government to plan how it will provide public services for the population of the State.

The form includes questions on topics such as age, marital status, sex, place of birth, occupation and religion. The results are then used to plan infrastructure in services like public transport, healthcare, housing and education. Local authorities use census information to predict demand on their services and facilities.

The number of seats in Dáil Eireann is also dependent on the results of the census. Under the Constitution, there must be a TD for every 20,000 to 30,000 persons. After each census a Constituency Commission is set up to consider Dáil Eireann and European Parliament constituencies.

How the census is carried out

Teams of enumerators, or supervisors, deliver a census form to every household in the State before census night. Any property where someone might be present on the night of the census also receive a form. This includes:

  • Hotels
  • Gueshouses
  • Hospitals
  • Ships

On census night, one person in each household or property must count everyone present and fill out the census form. This includes night visitors and those not usually resident there. A declaration on each form must also be signed.

If there will be no-one present on the night, please inform your enumerator and they will give you a Form E to fill out.

After census night, the enumerators will call back to collect the completed forms.

All information given in a census is confidential and can only be used for statistical purposes by the CSO. Your name and address are not entered on any computer database and no other organisation can access the information.

Census results

The most recent census was in 2016. It established that Ireland’s population, at that time, was 4,757,976 persons. This was a 3.7% increase on the 2011 census.

For more information on the results of previous censuses, visit the CSO website.

The next census in 2022

The next census will take place on 3 April 2022. This is a year later than planned because of COVID-19.

Following a consultation process and pilot survey, the CSO announced the introduction of eight new questions for the next census.

They will relate to:

  • Renewable energy sources
  • Internet access and devices
  • Smoke alarms
  • Smoking
  • Working from home
  • Volunteering
  • Childcare
  • Travelling home from work, school or college

Changes were also agreed to 25 existing questions on disability, ethnic groups, religion and the Irish language.

The census in 2021 will include an optional ‘time capsule’ question for the first time. This will allow members of the public to write a confidential message of their choice which will be securely stored for 100 years.

Further information and contacts

There is more information available on the Central Statistics Office website.

Census Enquiries

Central Statistics Office
PO Box 2016
Freepost F4726
Swords
Co. Dublin
K67 D2X4

Tel: 01 895 1321
Locall: 1890 236 787
Fax: 01 895 1399

Page edited: 16 September 2020