Latest: Humanist Association claims Census 2016 overestimates numbers practising religion

Update 3pm: The Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) have said they believe that few people who have identified themselves as Catholic "actually practice the religion on any regular basis".

    The main points from Census 2016

  • Ireland’s population stood at 4,761,865 in April 2016, a rise of 173,613 (3.8%) on April 2011

  • The average age of the population in April 2016 was 37.4 years, up from 36.1 years in April 2011

  • There were 6,034 same sex couples, of whom 3,442 were male couples and 2,592 were female

  • The number of Irish residents born outside Ireland rose to 810,406 in 2016 from 43,636 in 2011

  • 612,018 Irish residents spoke a foreign language at home, with Polish the most common followed by French, Romanian and Lithuanian

  • The number of people identifying themselves as having no religion increased from 269,800 to 468,400. The number of Catholics fell to 3,729,100 from 3,861,300

  • The number of Irish Travellers in Census 2016 increased by 5.1% to 30,987

  • 73,803 people spoke Irish daily outside the education system, 3,382 fewer than in 2011

  • The number of households renting on census night 2016 came to 497,111, a rise of 22,323 on 2011

  • The number of divorced people increased by 16,125 to 103,895 in 2016

It comes after the latest census figures showed a sharp increase in the 'No Religion' category, going up from 269,800 in April 2011 to 468,400 in April 2016.

HAI spokesperson Brian Whiteside said the latest figures show that one in 10 people in Ireland have no religion.

He said: "Quite clearly the number of citizens who identify as having no religion is sharply increasing as the number of Catholics and Protestants decreases.

"Those with no religion almost doubled from 269,800 to 468,400 and the number of Catholics in Ireland dropped by 132,200 from 3,861,300 to 3,729,100, which is a 3.4% drop."

The association ran campaign in the lead-up to Census 2016 urging people mark ‘No Religion’ on the census form if they did not practise a religion.

He said: "Another interesting statistic is the fact that 125,300 people declined to answer the religion question at all so the increase in those with ‘no religion’ maybe even higher.

"It seems odd that the number of Catholics has only declined by 3.4%. The evidence on the ground, that is, the meagre numbers entering the priesthood, and the massive decline in church attendance would suggest that, while many identify as being Catholic, few actually practice the religion on any regular basis. The figures seem to overestimate the strength of established religions in the country."

Earlier: There are almost 4.8 million people living in Ireland.

The first set of results of Census 2016 have been published this morning - showing a population increase of 3.8% since April 2011.

The average age of people in the country is 37.4 years, up from 36 years in the last Census - and there are 53,000 more females than males.

Two million households filled out the Census form on the evening of Sunday the 24 of April 2016.

The number of people who identify as having no religion is on the up as the number of Catholics diminishes.

Those with no religion almost doubled from 269,800 to 468,400 and the number of Catholics in Ireland dropped by 132,200 from 3,861,300 to 3,729,100.

The number of renting households went up 22,323 from 2011 and with an increase in overall permanent housing units of 48,257.

312,982 dwellings remain without an internet connection which is down more that 25% since 2011.

The number of people identifying as travellers also increased by 5.1% to 30,987 and the number of people who spoke a foreign language at home increased by 19% to 612,018.

This is the first time the Census has recorded same sex civil partnerships and marital status and logged a total of 6,034 same sex couples in Ireland.

3,442 were male couples and 2,592 were female.

The number of divorced people increased by 16,125 to 103,895.

 

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