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Press Statement


10 August 2017

Census 2016 Results: Profile 5 – Homeless Persons in Ireland

Census 2016 Results Logo

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (10th August 2017) publishes the fifth thematic report of Census 2016 results - Profile 5 Homeless Persons in Ireland.  The report shows that, on the night of 24 April 2016 (Census Night), 6,906 persons were either sleeping rough or in accommodation designated for the homeless.  Of these, 4,018 were male and 2,888 were female.

Profile 5 analyses the homeless population in April 2016 across a range of variables including: age, sex, marital status, economic status and nationality.  It also looks at the health and disability status of the homeless compared to that of the general population.

Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician: “This report will help to further improve our understanding of this complex issue, by providing important new information on the social and economic circumstances of homeless persons.  The collection of data in this important area could not have been achieved without the input and assistance of a broad range of both government and non-government stakeholders, and the CSO would like to thank all concerned for their cooperation in this.”

Today’s full report is available on the CSO website at Census of Population 2016 - Profile 5 Homeless Persons in Ireland

Highlights from Profile 5 Homeless Persons in Ireland

Homeless persons had a younger average age than the general population
The average age of the homeless population was 31 years compared with 37 years for the general population.  Of the 6,906 homeless persons counted in Census 2016, 1,846 persons were aged 0-17 years, with 1,594 being children in family units. A further 413 persons (6%) were aged 60 and over.

Higher proportion of separated/divorced among the homeless
On a marital status basis, 55% of homeless persons aged 15 and above were single, compared with 41% of the general population.  While almost 48% of the general population were married/remarried, only 9% of those homeless were.  The rate of separation/divorce was just above twice that of the general population, just over 12% compared to 6%.  Of those enumerated on census night, 22% did not provide information on this topic.

Homeless Families
There were 896 families among the homeless population, representing 2,968 persons, and accounting for 43% of all homeless persons.  There were 67 couples without children, 326 families with one child, 261 families with two children and 131 families with three children.  A further 111 families had four or more children.  There were 262 couples with children and 567 one-parent families.  Female parents accounted for 96% of all one-parent families.

Homeless persons at work / unemployed / in study / retired
Of the 5,212 homeless persons aged 15 and over, 2,915 (56%) were in the labour force, of whom 899 (31%) were employed.  A further 2,016 (69%) were either unemployed/looking for a first job.  There were 607 persons who were unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability, representing 12% of the total, compared with 4.2% of the general population.  Students accounted for 429 persons (8%), while 188 persons stated that they were retired.

Homeless less likely to have (upper) educational qualifications
In relation to level of education, 1,606 homeless persons (38%) did not have an educational qualification above lower secondary level compared with 27% of the general population.  There were 955 people who indicated that they were educated to at least upper secondary level and 422 were educated to third level.

Among those who indicated their nationality, non-Irish nationals accounted for 14%, compared with 11.6% of the general population.  As with the general population, Polish and UK nationals were the largest non-Irish groups, although UK nationals outnumbered the Polish among the homeless.

Poorer health and higher rate of disability among homeless
Just 62% of the homeless considered their health to be good/very good, compared to 87% of the general population.  Conversely, 19% indicated their health was fair/bad/very bad, almost double the 9.6% of the general population.

The disability rate among the homeless was double that of the general population – 1,871 persons (27%) indicated that they had a disability, compared with 13.5% of the general population.

Homeless in Emergency Accommodation / sleeping rough
There were 2,887 persons (just under 42%) in Private Emergency Accommodation, while 2,681 were in Supported Temporary Accommodation.  A further 1,144 persons were in Temporary Emergency Accommodation.

In addition, 123 people were sleeping rough on Census Night.  Of these, 102 were in Dublin.  Males accounted for 104 (85%) of those sleeping rough.

The table below shows the distribution of homeless persons by region based on the Regional Homeless Action Plans.

Region Male Female Total
Dublin 2,802 2,207 5,009
South West 285 186 471
Mid West 265 131 396
South East 203 120 323
Mid East 163 68 231
West 119 70 189
North East 100 53 153
Midland 50 44 94
North West 31 9 40
TOTAL 4,018 2,888 6,906
Editor's Note:
  • Homeless people were identified based on where they were on Census Night rather than by self-identification.  This approach was agreed in advance by the major stakeholders involved in providing services to the homeless.  A count of rough sleepers, led by participating local authorities, also took place nationally on Census Night.  For further information on the methodology, see the Background Notes to the report.
  • Persons in Long Term Accommodation (LTA) are not included in the main results in this report, as agreed in advance with stakeholder groups.  While this group may require a certain level of support they are for the most part considered tenants and are accordingly not included.  Census 2016 recorded 1,772 individuals in LTAs on Census Night. 
  • The full report is available on the CSO website at 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.  
  • 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 fifth 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 6 Commuting in Ireland will be published on 31 August.  The remaining profile reports will be published over the rest of the year, and will address themes such as migration and diversity; health, disability and carers; education skills and the Irish language.  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

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