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Press Statement


20 October 2020

Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2020

A snapshot of life in Ireland based on statistics compiled by the Central Statistics Office
  • Nine in ten (91%) of all households had access to the internet at home while almost all households with dependent children have internet access
  • Last year was the first time more planning permissions were granted for apartments (20,582) than houses (19,670)
  • The average spend on wages and salaries per employee was €30,512 in Small & Medium enterprises, while the average spend on wages and salaries in Large enterprises, which employ 250 or more, was €42,392
  • From 2009 to 2019, the national average price for unleaded petrol increased by 26.8% from €1.12 to €1.42 per litre, while the national average price for diesel increased by 30.1% from €1.03 to €1.34 per litre
  • Volkswagen (13,180) was the most popular make of new private cars licensed in 2019, followed by Toyota (11,408), Hyundai (10,281), Ford (9,047) and Skoda (8,791) – these five makes represented almost half (46.5%) of all new cars licensed
  • More than half of males (52.2%) aged 75 years and over never take a journey by foot

Go to release: Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2020

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (20 October 2020) published The Statistical Yearbook of Ireland 2020, to mark World Statistics Day and European Statistics Day on 20 October. The Yearbook presents a comprehensive picture of Ireland, based on statistics published by the Central Statistics Office throughout the year. Many of these statistics are based on information provided by the thousands of people around the country who have completed our surveys and we thank them for their input and look forward to the continued support of our Household Surveys. The CSO can compile such comprehensive reports…Because You Told Us.

Highlights for Editors:


How well do you know your county?

The CSO has created individual infographics for each county. This year infographics contain a breakdown of the top three occupations in each county; the numbers of births, deaths and marriages; how many people live alone; how many people live in nursing homes and the rate of COVID-19 deaths and cases up to 02 October 2020. These county-specific graphics can be provided to newsdesks as PDFs or PNGs if you contact Irish language versions of these graphics are also available.

Life Events

There were 20,313 marriages in 2019, 740 fewer than in 2018, of which 19,673 were opposite-sex marriages and 640 were same-sex marriages.


The number of persons in employment increased from 1,970,300 in 2014 to 2,222,500 in 2020, an increase of almost 13% in six years.

Ireland's health expenditure was €22.5 billion in 2018, which is equivalent to 6.9% of GDP.

In 2017, 34% of total greenhouse gas emissions were produced by the Industry sector, and another 34% of emissions were produced by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector. Households emitted 21% of total greenhouse gas emissions, and the remaining 11% were produced by the Services sector.

Clothes or sports goods were the most popular online purchase in 2019, purchased by more than half (51%) of internet users.

Phishing (receiving fraudulent messages) was experienced by 15% of internet users, while 2% of persons experienced Online identity theft.

In 2019 75% of people said they felt ‘very safe’ or ‘fairly safe’ walking in their local area at night, however this feeling of safety was considerably lower for females (64%) than for males (87%).

In 2020, (excluding Other/Not Stated) 43.4% of those aged 15 to 64 years had a third level qualification while 5.9% had not progressed beyond primary level education.

Some 15.1% of people are considered to be experiencing ‘enforced deprivation’, which is defined as not being able to afford two or more basics, such as heating the home adequately or eating a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day.

Median net wealth for owner occupied households is €287,800, significantly higher than the €6,500 value for rented households.

Almost six in every ten workers (59.8%) had pension coverage in Quarter 3 2019.


In 2019, e-Commerce sales accounted for 38% of total sales for large enterprises, 29% of total sales for medium sized enterprises and 29% for small enterprises.

The increase in the volume of retail sales from 2018 to 2019 was 2.2%.

The number of persons engaged in Industrial Production in Ireland in 2018 increased by 3.2% to 250,635.

Leitrim was the only county with less than 100 dwellings completed in 2019 at just 41.

The Industrial sector generated the most turnover and contributed €238.6 billion to the economy in 2017but the Services sector, which had a turnover of €217.6 billion; dominated employment figures with 774,572 persons employed compared to 242,966 persons engaged in the Industrial sector.


In 2019, food, beverages and tobacco accounted for €18 billion of Personal Consumption Expenditure, which was 16% of the total figure.

In 2019, total exports of merchandise and services amounted to €448.9bn. The largest trading partner for exports was United States (€98.3bn) followed by United Kingdom with exports of €56.2bn and Germany €34.9bn.

The value of exports in 2019 increased to €152,490 million compared with 2018 and represented the highest level of exports on record, of which chemicals and related products accounted for 61% of all good exported.

The USA is Ireland’s largest export partner, accounting for 31% of total exports, while Belgium is the largest export market in the EU.

Ireland imported 59% of its total goods from the EU in 2019 and the single largest supplier was Great Britain, from which 21% of all goods were imported.

The average price for two litres of full fat milk decreased from €1.91 in 2009 to €1.69 in 2019, a fall of 11.5%.

Average annual total earnings were €40,283 in 2019, up from €38,871 in 2018 with the highest averages in the Information and communication sector at €64,345 and the lowest in the Accommodation and food services sector which had average annual total earnings of €19,153.

Tourism, Transport & Travel

In 2019, 10.8 million overseas trips were made by non-residents to Ireland, an increase of 1.8% on 2018 figures.

In 2019, 47.0% of new private cars licensed were diesel compared with 54.3% in 2018. In 2019, 12.7% of new private cars licensed were electric/electric hybrid (14,343). This compares with 7.1% (8,567) of the total in 2018.

The most popular destination to and from Ireland's main airports was London-Heathrow with over 2.5 million (2,505,600) passengers travelling on this route in 2019.

In 2019, journeys by car accounted for 73.7% of all journeys – 64.9% where the respondent was the driver and 8.8% as a passenger in the car.

One in twenty journeys (4.8%) were by bus.


There was a 40% increase in the production of potatoes between 2018 and 2019 from 273,000 tonnes to 382,000 tonnes.

There were 7.2m cattle in Ireland in June 2019, down 1.9% on 2018.

In 2019, Co Cork had the largest number of dairy cows at 379,300 head while Co Leitrim had the smallest number of dairy cows at 1,900 head.

The value of crops fell by €228.9m (-10.8%), from €2,126.0m to €1,897.1m and livestock values decreased by €73.0m (-2.1%), from €3,453.7m to €3,380.7m.

Census of Agriculture is currently underway.


COVID-19 Health

The profile of people affected by the virus has changed over a six-month period since March 2020: Men and women are now almost equally likely to contract the virus and the percentage of cases amongst younger age groups has increased in more recent months with confirmed case rates in people aged under 24 at 34% in September compared with less than 10% in March and April

Health care workers made up 7% of all confirmed cases in September from a peak of 36% of all cases in April.

COVID-19 Labour Market

The number of ‘Actual Hours’ worked is down 16.8 million hours per week or 22.1% over the year having stood at 76.0 million hours per week in Q2 2019 and decreased to 59.2 million hours per week in Q2 2020.

It is estimated that 441,981 people had left the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) scheme by 09 August 2020 from a total of 704,459 who had received at least one payment or 62.7% of all those who had received at least one payment from the scheme up to that point.

Covid-19 Society

Some 17.3% of respondents were Very or Extremely concerned about household stress from confinement as a result of the restrictions in April 2020.

More than half (53.4%) of female respondents said their consumption of junk food had increased in April 2020.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, just under half of the population aged 15 years and over (47%) have seen their employment situation affected in terms of loss of employment, temporary layoff, change in work hours, remote working from home or change to business model to online/takeaway etc.

Employment impacts have been most felt in the age group 35-44 years, where two-thirds report employment effects.

COVID-19 Economy

The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic effect on retail sales in Ireland. From February 2020 to July 2020 the seasonally adjusted highest monthly decrease in the volume of sales (-35.8% in April 2020) and the highest monthly increase (+38.5% June 2020) were recorded.

During the first week of March (pre-COVID-19 restrictions), €1,488 million was spent on debit and credit cards (including ATM withdrawals), and by 16 April this had fallen by 41.2% to €875 million. By the week ending 31 August, new spending on debit and credit cards had increased significantly to €1,540 million, a rise of 76.1% from 16 April.

COVID-19 Tourism, Transport & Fuel Excise Clearances

For the period January-July 2020, 3,414,000 persons arrived in Ireland from overseas - a decrease of 70.5% compared to the same period in 2019.

Since April, the volume of cyclists recorded in Dublin outside peak hours has increased when compared with 2019; there were increases of 9.9% for the months of June and August. 

Appendix 1 - Northern Ireland

Information provided by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) is included here. The tables have been put in the same categories as the CSO. So, if you would like to see information on people and society, transport, business, the economy and agriculture, you can find the information here. We would like to thank NISRA, for their co-operation and for the material supplied for this Statistical Yearbook.

For further information contact:

Press Office (+353) 21 453 5028

or email

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