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Census 2011 Results


Profile 4 The Roof over our Heads – Housing in Ireland


The Central Statistics Office today released the latest publication in its series of Census 2011 results, showing that the number of households renting their accommodation increased by 47 per cent since 2006 to stand at 474,788 in April 2011 and leading to the overall home ownership rate to drop sharply from 74.7 per cent to 69.7 per cent.


Today’s publication, “Profile 4 The Roof over our Heads – Housing in Ireland”, examines the characteristics of over 1.6 million permanent dwellings occupied on April 10th 2011, along with 289,451 dwellings which were identified as being vacant at the time of the census.


Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician at the CSO: “This report provides an in-depth picture of housing in Ireland at the time of the last census. It presents detailed results on housing characteristics such as heating, sewerage and water along with an analysis of renting in Ireland, the housing situation among non-Irish nationals and a study of vacant dwellings across the country.”


The full report is available on the CSO website at along with all the data which is available in a range of interactive web tables, allowing users to build their own tables by selecting the data they are interested in and downloading it in an easy to use format for their own analysis. Small area census data is now also available on the new census mapping application on the CSO web site.


Ms Cullen concluded “Housing has played an important role in the economic fortunes of Ireland in recent years and this report provides important new information on this critical aspect of Irish life. Further details on census housing results are available in the census small area data which is available in the new mapping application (SAPMAP) on the CSO web site. Here, users can find detailed housing characteristics for a wide range of geographic areas from county level right down to town, electoral division and 18,488 Small Areas. This mapping application makes all the census variables available at local level right across the country and is an important step in bringing the data alive in a fresh and exciting way making it easier for all to access.”


Highlights of the report


Slowdown in housing stock growth between 2006 and 2011


In April 2011 there were 1,994,845 dwellings in the State representing a rise of 225,232 (12.7%) on the housing stock enumerated in 2006 and giving an average annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent during the inter-censal period.


In comparison, the previous inter-censal period from 2002 to 2006 saw an increase of 309,560 (21.2%) in the housing stock.


Significant increase in rented accommodation


The number of households in rented accommodation increased by 47 per cent to 474,788, up from 323,007 in 2006. The overall percentage of households renting their accommodation rose to 29 per cent causing home ownership rates to fall sharply from 74.7 per cent in 2006 to 69.7 per cent in 2011.


One in twelve households with a mortgage headed by persons not in employment


The number of dwellings that were owned through an existing mortgage or loan stood at 583,148, down marginally from 593,513 in 2006, of these 50,792 households were headed by a person who was either unemployed or looking for work, representing 8.7 per cent of all homes with a loan or mortgage. Within this group 25,921 households (51%) did not have anyone within the household who was at work.


Strong growth in apartments


The increase in apartments as an accommodation type in Ireland continued between 2006 and 2011 with 177,587 occupied apartments in 2011, an increase of 27 per cent on the 2006 figure of 139,872. Apartments comprised 10.9 per cent of all occupied households in 2011 and accounted for almost one-third of all household types in Dublin City, the highest of any local authority area.


Smaller sized homes back in vogue


Census 2011 results also show that there was a strong increase in the number of households with three rooms or less since 2002, coinciding with the high rate of apartment building over the same period.

This increase in homes with fewer rooms was concentrated in the urban areas, where the share of households having three rooms or less increased from 15 per cent in 2002 to 21 per cent in 2011.


Households occupied by non-Irish nationals more likely to have fewer rooms


Almost four out of every ten homes with a non-Irish national as the head of household had three rooms or less. This proportion rose to over 50 per cent in the case of households headed by Asian or African residents. In contrast just one in eight Irish households had a maximum of three rooms.


In urban areas households headed by non-Irish nationals paid an average of €181 per week to private landlords, slightly higher than €178 paid by Irish householders. Rents were broadly similar for both groups in rural areas.


Apart from British nationals home ownership rates among non-Irish nationals remained low. The number of Polish householders with a loan or mortgage increased from 648 in 2006 to 1,820 in 2011, while for residents from the remaining accession states the number of mortgaged households rose by 73 per cent from 1,537 to 2,658 over the five year period.


Regional differences in types of fuel used for central heating


Census 2011 asked about the type of fuel used in central heating systems and highlighted noticeable differences in fuel use at regional level. The importance of oil as a source of fuel for central heating was more pronounced in Ulster (part of) and in the South East region. Monaghan led the way with four out of five homes within the county using oil for central heating.


Natural gas was the fuel of choice for heating over 70 per cent of houses and apartments in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, South Dublin and Fingal.


The Midlands region had a higher proportion of occupied dwellings relying on solid fuels (coal, peat and wood pellets) for central heating with Offaly coming first in this category with 37.1 per cent of households.


Over 400,000 individual septic tanks


Almost 1.1 million homes were connected to public sewerage schemes in 2011, representing two-thirds of all households, with the majority in urban areas. A further 437,652 (27.5%) households used an individual septic tank while 50,259 (3%) households adopted other individual sewerage systems.


The public mains supplied the drinking water for 78 per cent of all households. A further 9 per cent were connected to a local authority group water scheme and 13 per cent were connected to a private source (group and other).


Just one in five lone pensioner households had internet connection


Almost six out of ten homes where the head of household was aged 65 years and over did not have any internet access in 2011. This figure rose to 79 per cent in cases where the person aged 65 or over lived alone.


Car ownership was also relatively low in dwellings where the head of household was aged 65 years and over; in urban areas almost one in three of these households had no car while in rural areas the figure was just under one in five. Fifty two per cent of lone pensioner households in urban areas and 40 per cent in rural areas did not own or have use of a car in 2011.


Fewer vacant houses but more vacant apartments


The number of vacant dwellings totalled 289,451 in April 2011, of which 168,427 were vacant houses, 61,629 were vacant apartments and 59,395 were vacant holiday homes.


The number of vacant houses fell by 4 per cent from 174,935 in 2006 to 168,427 in 2011. The most significant percentage declines in the number of vacant houses occurred in the Dublin area, with falls in excess of 30 per cent recorded.


However the number of vacant apartments rose by 48 per cent over the same five year period from 41,598 to 61,629, with increases recorded in every county.


Holiday homes comprised three per cent of housing stock


Holiday homes recorded a 19 per cent rise from 49,789 in 2006 to 59,395 in 2011. Donegal had 10,636 vacant holiday homes in 2011, the highest of any county and representing 18 per cent of all holiday homes in the State.


When the location of holiday homes were analysed, 29,951 (50%) were found to be situated within one kilometer of the coast. A total of 2,141 vacant holiday homes were located on islands off the mainland, of which 646 were on Achill Island in Mayo and 303 on Valentia Island in Kerry.


For copies of the publication:

To view and download the publication, visit the CSO website at


For further information contact:

Shaun McLaughlin on (01) 895 1474

Central Statistics Office, Swords Business Campus, Balheary Road, Swords, Co. Dublin.

Census Enquiries: (01) 895 1460

Fax: 01 895 1399





Central Statistics Office                                                                    30 August 2012

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