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CSO statistical release, 06 September 2022, 11am
Online ISSN 2009-681X

What is CensusAtSchool?

CensusAtSchool is an online educational project that takes place every year with the aim of bringing statistics to life in the classroom. Schools are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. Supervised by teachers, students connect to the internet using a variety of digital devices and answer questions about their lives and opinions. The data is then collated and made available for class exercises on the Census at School website so that students can see the real-life relevance of statistics.

From an estimated 391,703 secondary school students, 1,748 (0.4%) students completed the Phase 21 questionnaire of the CensusAtSchool survey. It was available to students and schools between September 2021 and June 2022. The Phase 21 questionnaire covered a variety of topics including:

  • Physical Activity and Health
  • Technology
  • World Cup
  • Charity

Please note: the CensusAtSchool survey is voluntary. It is not part of a representative sampling process. As representative sampling process was not used to gain responses to the survey, the results of the survey are not reliable in providing inferences about the overall secondary school student population. Comparisons with international data are also not representative.

Physical Activity and Health

Students were asked questions about their physical activity and on how many days per week they were physically active for at least 60 minutes. See Figure 1.

X-axis labelPhysically Active
7 days17
6 days16
5 days21
4 days16
3 days13
2 days10
1 day5
0 days2

Member of sports club

It was also encouraging to see that 63% of students were members of a sports club. Over 40% of students said their physical activity increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amount of sleep

Other interesting health related data showed students got on average 8hrs 22mins sleep when they didn’t have school the following day compared to an average of 7hrs 26mins when they had school the next day.

pulse readings

Students' resting heart rate was on average 72 BPM and this increased to 102 BPM after jogging on the spot for 30 seconds.

Smart Watch monitoring sleep

25% of students used a smart watch to monitor their physical activity and sleep.

Height of Students

Every year the CensusAtSchool questionnaire asks students to take different measurements such as the circumference of their wrist, height and arm span.

Average height

We compared the average height of 1st Year students to the 6th Year students for both sexes. Male 1st Year students average height at 165cm is 6cm taller than female 1st Years at 159cm, the difference has grown to 14cm in the Transition Year students. See Figure 2.

X-axis labelMaleFemale
1st Year165159
Transition Year179165



Students were asked a range of technology related questions. An interesting question asked again of students was which application they would choose if they could only have one on their phone. Snapchat was the winner again this year and its share has increased to 50%. See Figure 3.

 Covid tracker app

Only 24% of students downloaded the COVID Tracker app however.


Students were also asked how many minutes per day they spent on different activities. Students spent far more time – 670 minutes - on their mobile phone compared to all the other activities combined. See Figure 4.

X-axis labelAverage time spent per day in minutes

Students were also asked to rank their favourite internet activity from highest to lowest -

Ranking of Internet ActivitiesRank
Messaging/Chatting 1
Social Media Sites 2
Watching Videos 3
Online Gaming 4
Listening to Music 5

World Cup and Charity

Fifa 2022

Students were asked which country would be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 75% of students got this correct by choosing Qatar as their answer. Students were also asked to estimate how many games would take place in total during the World Cup –

Games guessNumber
Min guess 1
Max guess 999
Mode 64
Mean 75
Median 64

 Charity donation

Students were asked about which charity they would donate to if they had €1000. Health related causes was the clear winner with 31% of students picking this as their choice. See Figure 5.

X-axis label1000 Euro Charity Donation
Religious Worship1
International Aid6
Art, Culture and Sport3

How Strict are Parents/Guardians

Students were also asked about how strict their parents were on a scale of 1-100.

49% of students selected a value of 50 or over.

Background information

CensusAtSchool is a non-profit making international project. It is funded by organisations interested in promoting good use of statistics, mathematics and data handling. Ireland became involved in CensusAtSchool in 2009. Four Irish bodies are collaborating in this project:

  • Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST)
  • Central Statistics Office
  • Project Maths
  • National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA)

The Irish website,, has been in place since 2009.

The Royal Statistical Society Centre for Statistical Education (RSSCSE) started the CensusAtSchool project in 2000 in conjunction with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in the United Kingdom. The project, originally planned as a one-off survey, was linked to the UK population census of 2001. It has now developed into a dynamic, on­going and exciting initiative being conducted in several countries. Further information on its operation in countries can be found here:



New Zealand



1,748 secondary school attendees from 93 secondary schools completed the Phase 21 questionnaire of the CensusAtSchool survey between September 2021 and June 2022. Because the survey voluntary and is not part of a representative sampling process, the results of the survey are less reliable in providing inferences about the overall secondary school student population.


The CensusAtSchool Phase 21 questionnaire and more results from the survey can be found on the CensusAtSchool website at CensusAtSchool Questionnaire

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