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Press Statement


02 November 2017

Profile 9 - Health, Disability and Carers

Census 2016 Results Logo

13.5% of the population has a disability

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (Thursday 2nd November) published Census 2016 Profile 9 – Health, Disability and Carers.  The report shows that 87.0% of the population considered themselves to be in “very good” (59.4%) or “good” (27.6%) health.  There were 643,131 people, or 13.5% of the population, who indicated that they had a disability and the number of carers (people providing regular unpaid help for a friend/family member) increased by 8,151 (4.4%) to 195,263. 

Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician, commented: “Census 2016 was the second census in which the Irish public were asked to rate their own health so we can now make comparisons over time.  The report also provides detailed data and analysis on those with a disability while also examining changes in relation to carers, looking at issues such as the age and gender profile of carers, the number of carers in each county, and the hours of care provided.” 

Today’s full report is available on the CSO website at Census 2016 -  Profile 9 - Health, Disability and Carers

Highlights from Profile 9 – Health, Disability and Carers

General Health
In 2016, 87.0% of the population felt they had good or very good health, down slightly from 2011 when it was 88.3%.  Nearly six in ten or 59.5% of men felt their health was very good, compared with 59.3% of women.  The census results also clearly show the decline in general health with age, with 79% of 15-19 year olds in very good health, compared with 58.6% of those aged 40-44 and 31.3% of the 65 to 69 age group. 

Health status by county
Almost nine out of ten or 89.9% of people in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown indicated their health was very good/good - the highest in the country.  It was followed by Meath (89.6%) and Kildare and Cork County (89.5%).  Dublin City had the lowest percentage at 82.8%, with Cork City and Longford the next lowest at 83.6% and 85.3% respectively. 

Increase in number of people with a disability
The number of people with a disability increased by 47,796 between 2011 and 2016 and stood at 643,131 in April 2016, accounting for 13.5% of the population.  There were 331,551 females (51.6%) and 311,580 males (48.4%) with a disability.  Among those aged under 20, there was an increase of 11,828 persons (15.6%) with a disability since 2011.  This represented a disability rate of 6.7% in this group (up from 6% in 2011).

Age, gender and geographical profile 
Up to one in ten persons below 45 years of age had a disability, rising to 20% by age 60.  Rates increased sharply above age 70; 27.7% of females aged 70-74 had a disability while the rate had increased to 73.3% for females aged 84 and over.

Disability was more common amongst males in all age categories up to age 24, peaking in the 5-9 age groups where there were almost twice as many disabled boys (14,964) as girls (7,887).

By administrative counties, Cork City had the highest rate of disabled persons at 18.1% while the lowest rates of disability were in Fingal (10.8%), Meath (11.6%) and Monaghan (11.8%). 

Types of disability
Between 2011 and 2016 the numbers of people with different disabilities increased across all categories; the largest increase was among those with a psychological or emotional condition which rose by 27,511 to 123,515 in 2016, an increase of 28.7%.  Those with a vision impairment increased by 6% to 54,810.

Living arrangements
A total of 112,904 disabled persons (19.3%) lived alone in private households in April 2016, of whom 61,756 (54.7%) were aged 65 and over. 

There were 44,531 people with disabilities (6.9%) living in communal establishments in April 2016, including 19,015 males and 25,516 females.  This was a slight fall on the 2011 figure of 44,952. 

Education and Employment
Educational attainment amongst disabled persons was much lower than that of the general population at all levels.  Amongst those aged 15 to 50 (inclusive), 13.7% had completed no higher than primary level education, compared with 4.2% of the general population; 37.0% had completed third level education compared with 53.4% of all those aged 15-50. 

There were 176,445 persons with a disability in the labour force, giving a labour force participation rate of 30.2% compared with 61.4% for the population overall.

Of those with a disability aged 15 and over in April 2016 (584,045 people), just 22.3% (130,067) were at work, compared with 53.4% of the overall population in that age group.  Overall in April 2016, 6.5% of those at work had a disability.

The unemployment rate amongst persons with a disability was 26.3%, more than double the 12.9% rate for the population as a whole.

More female than male carers
In April 2016, females comprised 118,151 (60.5%) of the country’s 195,263 carers, while there were 77,112 male carers.  There were 3,800 children aged under 15 providing care, accounting for 1.9% of all carers. 

Age profile of carers
Over half of all carers (52.7%) were in the 40 to 59 age group while the greatest proportion of carers was in the 50-54 age group, which accounted for 28,703 carers (14.7%).  There was a 34.7% increase in carers aged 85 and over, where numbers rose from 1,318 to 1,776.  

Care hours
Carers provided 6,608,515 hours of care per week, an average of 38.7 hours per carer.  This was an increase of 321,005 hours (5.1%) on 2011. There were 83,754 carers (42.9%) who provided up to two hours of unpaid care a day which made up 8.3% of the total care hours provided.  There were also 16,926 carers (8.7%) who provided full time 24 hour/seven day unpaid care which represented 43% of total care hours provided.  {Note: not all carers indicated the number of care hours provided, hence the weekly and hourly figures quoted above relate to those who did so.}

Editor's Note:
  • Profile 9 – Health, Disability and Carers is the 11th of the 13 reports from Census 2016 (11 profile reports and two summary reports).  The next profile report, on Education, Skills and the Irish Language, will be published on 23rd November.  All of the previous profile reports, and the two Summary Reports, are available at  The reports include a range of interactive web tables, which allow 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. 
  • For the purposes of this report, a disabled person has been classified as someone who answered ‘yes’ to any of the seven categories in Question 16 of the census form on long-lasting conditions, or who answered ‘yes’ to any of the four categories in Question 17 on difficulties. 
  • For census purposes, a family is defined as a couple with or without children, or a one parent family 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. 
  • The labour force comprises persons aged 15 and over who are employed, looking for a first job, or unemployed. The percentage of people aged 15 and over who participate in the labour force - as opposed to having another status such as student, retired or homemaker - is known as the labour force participation rate. It is measured as the number in the labour force (at work or unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the total population aged 15 and over.
  • 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 commuting patterns, nationality and households and families. 
For further information contact:

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

or email

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