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Press Statement


18 September 2018

Ten nationalities account for 70% of Non-Irish Nationals

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) today (Tuesday 18 September) publishes a report based on Census 2016 results, “Non-Irish Nationalities Living in Ireland” which focuses on the Top Ten non-Irish nationalities by population size.

In April 2016, there were 535,475 non-Irish nationals living in Ireland.  This was a decrease of 1.6% on the 2011 census figure of 544,357 people.  Ten nationalities accounted for 70% of the total figure. Polish nationals (122,515 people) made up the largest group while German nationals (11,531 people) were the smallest of the ten groups profiled.

Commenting on the report, Cormac Halpin, Senior Statistician said “One of the many benefits of census data is the information it gives us on the individual groups that make up Irelands population.  This report details the Top Ten largest non-Irish national populations living in Ireland and looks at the characteristics of each covering topics such as where they live, age profile, education, language ability, housing, general health, work and occupations”.

Today’s full report is available on the CSO website at Non-Irish Nationalities Living in Ireland, 2016

Highlights from Non-Irish Nationalities Living in Ireland

Increases and decreases

The number of UK, Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian nationals fell between 2011 and 2016.  The largest increases were in the Spanish, Romanian and Brazilian populations.  The Spanish population increased by 78% from 6,794 to 12,112 people between 2011 and 2016.  This was the biggest percentage increase of the nationalities profiled.  Romanian nationals increased by 69% from 17,304 to 29,186 people during the same period and represented the largest increase in population size.

Where people lived

Dublin city and suburbs had the highest concentration of Brazilians (64%), Romanians and Italians (58%) and Spanish nationals (52%). In city living overall, 72% of Brazilians and Italians lived in cities and suburbs while 50% of UK nationals lived in rural Ireland including rural towns.

Age Profile

The Brazilian population was the youngest with an average age of 29.9 years compared with the State figure of 37.3 years.  Romanian nationals were the second youngest at 30.5 years. The two oldest populations by average age were UK nationals (46.7 years) and Germans (40.5 years).

Education and Language

French nationals had the highest proportion (2,854) of post graduate degrees among the Top Ten populations profiled.  Polish nationals had the largest number of people (8,736) with postgraduate degrees while 70% of Germans (aged 4 years and over) indicated that they spoke English very well.

Marital Status

Latvians (15%), Lithuanians (13%) and UK (11%) nationals had the highest separated/divorced rates compared with the State (6%), while the Spanish, Brazilian, Italian and French nationals were more likely to be single, reflecting the relatively young age of these populations.

Of the UK nationals (aged 15 and over), 39,773 or 41% had an Irish partner, compared to only 4% of the Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian nationals.

Workforce and Occupations

UK nationals had the lowest labour force participation rate (59.7%) largely due to a high (19%) proportion of retired people.  Each of the other nine nationalities had a higher labour force participation rate that the State figure of (61%).

A quarter of all metal workers were Polish while 18% of the Spanish and 20% of the French working population were employed in the information and communication industry.

Housing and General Health

Renting was more common than home ownership for all but one of the nationalities profiled, the exception was UK nationals with 62% ownership.

Romanian, Lithuanian and Latvian nationals were more likely to indicate that they had fair to good health while all other nationalities indicated that they had very good health.

Editor's Note:
  • Non-Irish Nationalities living in Ireland is a complete report and does not include tables for analysis.  It follows on from Profile 7 – Migration and Diversity which was the 7th profile report from Census 2016 results (11 profile reports and two summary reports in total).  All the reports are available at  They 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. 
  • 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 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 State average age was 37.3 in April 2016 when calculated using usual residence figures and 37.4 when using de facto figures. 
For further information contact:

Eoin Whelan (+353) 1 895 1353 or Census Enquiries (+353) 1 895 1460

or email

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