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Press Statement


06 July 2017

Profile 3 – An Age Profile of Ireland

Census 2016 Results Logo

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today publishes the third thematic report of the Census 2016 results - Profile 3 An Age Profile of Ireland.  The average age of Ireland’s population continues to increase, and stood at 37.4 years in April 2016, up by 1.3 years since 2011.  Other insights include results showing that the number of both pre-school children aged (0-4) and young adults (19-24) have fallen since 2011.

Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician: “This profile report examines the age breakdown of Ireland’s population and the characteristics of different age groups by geographic area, accommodation and household composition.  It aims to build on the earlier results on age and sex composition in the Summary Results Part 1 and to provide a more in-depth look at all age cohorts in Ireland in April 2016.”

Today’s full report is available on the CSO website at Census of Population 2016 - Profile 3 An Age Profile of Ireland

Highlights from Profile 3 - An Age Profile of Ireland

We are getting older
Ireland’s population has been getting steadily older since the 1980’s.  In Census 2016, 37.2% were aged 45 and over, compared with 34.4% in 2011 and 27.6% in 1986.  Almost a third of the population 33.2% was less than 25 years old, while 29.5% were in the 25-44 age group. 

Age Structure
Interactive Population Pyramids are available for each administrative county and vividly highlight the varying age profile of each county across the country.  The impact of third level colleges on the 18-22 age group is evident showing their influx into cities and towns in pursuit of education.

Average Age is increasing
Nationally the average age was 37.4 years.  The results show an increase in average age in every county with Kerry and Mayo the highest at 40.2 years while Fingal was the youngest at 34.3 years.  The average age of the rural population was 2.4 years older than the urban population, an increase of 0.5 years on five years earlier.  Females were on average 1.3 years older than their male counterparts. 

Age Dependency has grown
Age dependency, which is measured as the number of younger (0-14) and older (65+) people as a percentage of those of working age (15-64), increased from 49.3% in 2011 to 52.7% in 2016.  The number in the 65 and over category increased by 102,174 – more than twice the 15-64 age category, which rose by 44,477 since 2011.

Oldest and Youngest Towns
Among the large towns (i.e. those with a population of 10,000 or over) Killarney (with an average age of 40.9 years) was the oldest, followed by Wexford (39.4), while Balbriggan (30.8) and Maynooth (31.9) were the youngest.

Age Groups

0-4 years
The number of pre-school children fell by 7% to 331,515 in April 2016.  The number of pre-school children living in flats or apartments increased by 24.3% since 2011, to reach 31,891.  

5-12 years
The number of primary school age children stood at 548,693 in 2016, an increase of 8.8% on April 2011.  Almost a third (30.7%) of primary school age children were living in rented accommodation in 2016, up from 28.7% five years earlier.

13-18 years
There were 371,588 13 to 18 year olds in April 2016, an increase of 7.7% since 2011.  Of these teenagers, 3.9% lived in apartments in 2016.  

19-24 years
There was a fall in the number of young adults (19-24) since 2011 to 331,208, a drop of 6.5%.

25-64 years
There were 2,541,294 people in this age group, an increase of 48,275 on 2011. 

65 years and over
This age group saw the largest increase in population since 2011, rising by 102,174 to 637,567, a rise of 19.1%.  The census recorded 456 centenarians, an increase of 17.2% on 2011.  Over half a million or 577,171 in this older age group lived in private households, an increase of 19.6%, while those in nursing homes increased by 1,960 to 22,762.

Editor's Note:
  • 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 them in an easy to use format for their own analysis. 
  • In co-operation with the All Ireland Research Observatory (AIRO) at NUI Maynooth, summary census data is available in thematic maps for Electoral Districts and all Small Areas on the AIRO website. This can be accessed via the link on the CSO website.
  • The census figures relate to the de facto population, i.e. the population recorded for each area represents the total of all persons present within its boundaries on the night of Sunday, 24 April 2016, together with all persons who arrived in that area on the morning of Monday, 25 April 2016, not having been enumerated elsewhere.  Persons on board ships in port are included with the population of adjacent areas.  The figures, therefore, include visitors present on Census Night as well as those in residence, while usual residents temporarily absent from the area are excluded.
  • The de facto measure of the population in April 2016 was 4,761,865 while the usually resident total was 4,689,921 - a difference of 71,944 or 1.5%.  The usually resident measure is used when analysing topics such as nationality and households and families.
  • This is the third in the series of eleven thematic reports from Census 2016.  The CSO has also published two Summary Reports providing first results of all of the areas covered in the census.  The next profile report Profile 4 Households and Families will be published on 27 July.  Further profile reports will address themes such as homeless persons; migration and diversity; education, skills and the Irish language.  The full release schedule is available here and all reports published to date can be viewed at
For further information contact:

Brendan Murphy (+353) 1 895 1329 or Census Enquiries (+353) 1 895 1460

or email

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