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Press Statement


27 July 2017

Census 2016 Results: Profile 4 Households and Families

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Number of families increases to 1,218,370

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (27th July 2017) publishes Profile 4 Households and Families, the latest of the eleven Census 2016 profile reports.  The report shows that there were 1,218,370 families in the State on Census Night, an increase of 3.3% since 2011.  The number of children per family remained unchanged at 1.38 children since the 2011 census.   

Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician: “This profile report on Households and Families examines the family situations and living arrangements of the Irish population in April 2016.  It provides a wealth of information and analysis on topics such as marital status, same sex civil partnerships and the different types and sizes of family composition and households”.

Today’s full report is available on the CSO website at Census of Population 2016 - Profile 4 Households and Families

Highlights from Profile 4 Households and Families

In April 2016, 41.1% of the Irish population aged 15 and over, accounting for 1,544,862 people, were single.  Over one-third of single people (36%) lived in cities, 34% lived in rural areas with remaining 30% in urban areas excluding cities.

The number of married people increased by 4.9% to 1,792,151. Married people (including remarriages) made up 47.7% of the population in 2016.  By age 33, females were more likely to be married than single, while it was 35 for males.

Same-sex civil partnerships
4,226 people indicated that they were in a registered same-sex civil partnership (the first time this category was recorded on an Irish census).  The majority of these - 2,526 (59.8%), were male.  

Separated / divorced / remarried
The number of separated and divorced people increased to 222,073 (+8.9%) since April 2011.  There were 127,149 separated or divorced women and 94,924 males.  The peak age for separation and divorce was 53. One fifth of divorced/separated men lived in households with children, compared to over 50% of women.

Census 2016 also showed that 61,729 persons were remarried, an increase of 17.1%, below the 27% increase seen between 2006-2011.

Widows and widowers
There were 196,227 widowed persons, comprising 5.2% of the population aged 15 and over, compared to 5.3% in 2011.  However, the actual number of widowed persons increased by 5,168 over the period.

Number of families increases
Since Census 1996, the number of families in the State has increased by 51%, and stood at 1,218,370 in April 2016.  Among families with children, the numbers of married couples, cohabiting couples and one parent families all increased, with cohabiting couples showing an increase of 25.4%.

Decline in family size slows
The number of families with children increased by 28,455 to 862,721. Looking at larger families, 62,192 families had 4 or more children, 4,352 had 6 or more, while the average number of children per family, which had been declining between 1996 and 2006, remained unchanged at 1.38 children.

One-parent families more likely to be female, while fathers were much older
Of the 218,817 one-parent families recorded in Census 2016, the vast majority (189,112) were female.  Over half (125,840) had just one child.  Fathers in this family type tended to be much older, with 68% being aged 50 or over, compared to just 38.3% of mothers.  Fewer than half of parents in one-parent families were at work (47.8%), compared to 70.2% of two-parent families.

More men than women among adults living with parents
Census 2016 recorded 458,874 persons aged 18 and over living with their parents, an increase of 4.4%, with 58.6% being male.  Fewer than half (215,088) were at work, while 66,516 were unemployed and 152,269 were students.

Almost 400,000 people lived alone
In April 2016, 399,815 people indicated that they lived alone, of whom some 204,296 were female and 195,519 male.  Of those living alone, 39.2% were aged 65 and over.  Over half (52.6%) were single, while just under 1 in 4 were widowed.  Of those aged 25-49 living alone, males accounted for some 60%.  This was more pronounced in rural areas, where 65.9% of those living alone were male.  Men were also more likely to be single – 62%, compared to 43.6% for women, but less likely to be widowed – 12.5%, compared to 36.6% of women.

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.
  • For census purposes, a family is defined as a couple with one or more children, a couple without children or a lone parent with one or more children.
  • A private household comprises either one person living alone or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address with common housekeeping arrangements - that is, sharing at least one meal a day or sharing a living room or sitting room.  In order to be included in the household a person had to be a usual resident at the time of the census.  Therefore visitors to the household on Census Night were excluded while usual residents temporarily absent (for less than 12 months) were included.
  • A family unit or nucleus is defined as: a married or cohabiting couple; or a married or cohabiting couple together with one or more usually resident never-married children (of any age); or one parent together with one or more usually resident never-married children (of any age).  Family members have to be usual residents of the relevant household. 
  • This is the fourth of the eleven thematic reports of Census 2016 results.  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 5 Homeless Persons in Ireland, will be published on 10 August.  The remaining profile reports will be published over the rest of the year and will address themes such as commuting, Irish Travellers, ethnicity and religion, and employment, occupations and industry.  The full release schedule and all of the Census 2016 reports published to date are available at
For further information contact:

Brendan Murphy (+353) 1 895 1305 or Census Enquiries (+353) 1 895 1460

or email

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