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Frequently Asked Questions

Census 2022 Results

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

Census Results 2022 Branding

About the Census

What is the Census?

The census is a count, and account, of everybody in Ireland on Census Night. Everyone in the country on Census Night on 03 April 2022 should have been included on a census form and is now part of the official count of people and dwellings.

Who carries out the Census?

The census is conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as Ireland’s national statistics organisation.

Why do we have a Census?

Census results are important in planning our future services at community, local and national level including healthcare, education, transport, and housing. 

Is it compulsory?

Yes. Everybody present in the country on Census Night must be included by law [Statistics Act 1993Statistics (Census of Population) Order 2020].

Is my information secure?

Yes. The CSO values and protects the information you provide to us on your census form. It is secure and protected by law.  All staff involved in the Census are Officers of Statistics and are legally bound by the Statistics Act 1993 to protect the confidentiality of your data.  The CSO is also compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The CSO only publishes grouped anonymous data in the form of statistics.  Your completed census form will be securely stored for 100 years, after which it will become publicly available, in line with the Statistics Act.

About Census 2022

What was the coverage rate of the census?

As has been the case in previous censuses, the CSO received great co-operation from the public in completing their census forms last year and we thank everybody for their support.  The census count covers all dwellings which were occupied in Ireland on Census night. Approximately 96% of the population completed a census form in 2022.  Data for the remaining 4% of the population were sourced from alternative data sources, primarily administrative data.

How did the CSO account for the forms that were not returned?

Although the vast majority of the population who were present in the country on Census night completed a census form, there was a small percentage of occupied dwellings from which no completed form was received. For these dwellings, the CSO estimated the number of residents using alternative data, primarily administrative data.  Using this approach ensured that the population count was as robust as possible.

What is administrative data?

Administrative data is existing data that is collected by other government departments and agencies, which is sometimes used by the CSO to produce Official Statistics.

Under the Statistics Act, 1993, ( the CSO has the right to access this information to complement or replace survey data in order to provide unique insights about Irish society or improve the timeliness of our analysis. 

Is the CSO legally permitted to use administrative data in this way?

Yes. Under the Statistics Act 1993, the CSO has a legal right to access administrative data for statistical purposes and used it in Census 2022 to improve the quality of the information being published.  The CSO has stringent privacy procedures in place to ensure any administrative data used for statistical purposes is treated in a highly confidential manner. The CSO never shares information relating to individuals with any other organisations, whether part of the government or otherwise.

How did the issues that arose during the field operation affect the census results?

The CSO faced a number of challenges in conducting Census 2022 due to the pandemic, and in terms of recruiting and retaining enumerators in a relatively small number of areas around the country.  Where issues arose, the CSO strove to ensure that all households in those areas received a census form, by primarily using the postal system to send forms directly to these homes. We also provided freepost envelopes to the householder to enable them to return their completed forms. The CSO estimates that 96% of occupied homes returned completed census forms. For the homes where forms were not returned, the CSO used alternative data sources to ensure a complete population count.

What new questions were on Census 2022?

There were six new questions on the Census 2022 questionnaire.  The topics covered were smoke alarms, internet access and devices, smoking, journey from work school or college to home, volunteering, and childcare.  An optional Time Capsule element was also included for the first time.

How were the Census 2022 questions decided?

All questions contained on Census 2022 were tested as part of a public consultation process that ran between 2017 and 2019. Following the testing, a Census Advisory Group of subject matter experts made recommendations to the government on the content for the 2022 questionnaire.  The questions were approved by government in 2019.

Census 2022 Results

Why is there no comparison available for the population of Cork City between 2016 and 2022?

The boundary of Cork City was changed in 2019 with some areas previously included within the Cork County boundary moving to the city. This means that the Cork City boundary used in Census 2016 is not comparable with the Cork City boundary used for Census 2022.

The main tables in the release provide comparisons for the entire county of Cork, where the external boundary has not changed.  There are tables also provided on Cork City, however for these tables it is not possible to provide comparisons with Census 2016 data due to the boundary change. 

Why is there a difference between the preliminary population figures you published last year and this set of figures?

The difference between the two national population figures is because the preliminary population count is based upon manual enumerator returns made during the field operation.  The definitive final count which is included in this release is based upon the full processing and reconciling of every census form returned to the CSO. As in previous years, the difference between the two counts is relatively small so the preliminary count continues to provide a reasonably accurate estimation of the population a few weeks after the census has been conducted.

Will the Preliminary Population figures be revised?

No. The Preliminary figures are released to provide an early indication of the population soon after Census night. They are superseded by the publication of the official census results.

When will the rest of the Census data be published?

The Summary report is the first in a series of Census 2022 published results. During the year, a further eight themed reports will be published exploring a range of topics such as housing, homelessness, religion, disability, and carers in greater detail.  The titles of the reports are as follows:

  • Profile 1 - Population Distribution and Movement
  • Profile 2 - Housing in Ireland
  • Profile 3 - Households, Families and Childcare
  • Profile 4 - Disability, Health and Carers
  • Profile 5 - Diversity, Migration, Ethnicity, Irish Travellers, and Religion
  • Profile 6 - Homelessness
  • Profile 7 - Employment, Occupations and Commuting
  • Profile 8 - The Irish Language and Education.


Small Area Population Statistics (SAPS), which are statistics produced for a range of geographical levels from State to small areas, will be published in September.  You can view the full Census 2022 Publication Schedule

When will you be releasing data from the Time Capsule?

The CSO will only be releasing information about the number of Time Capsules that were completed in 2022.  No other information was captured from the Time Capsule section during census processing. The Time Capsules will be stored securely for 100 years in line with Article 35 of the Statistics Act, 1993, after which they will be released to the public.

When will the Rural and Urban data be published?

The CSO is introducing an updated classification of rural and urban areas based on the methodology used in the publication “Urban and Rural Life in Ireland, 2019”, a link to which can be found below. This classification requires additional processing of census data before it can be produced. The CSO will add this data to the statistical tables in the coming months.

Urban and Rural Life in Ireland, 2019 - CSO - Central Statistics Office

When will the Field of Study data be published?

The Census 2022 Field of Study data requires additional coding work to combine administrative data and Census 2016 data. It will be finalised in the coming months and added to the statistical tables.

  • Census of Population 2022 - Summary Results