Welcome to this Central Statistics Office (CSO) publication to mark the centenary of 1916. We decided to commemorate this momentous occasion by searching for statistics from Ireland for the 1916 period which illustrated what life was like for people living 100 years ago. We found a range of statistics on themes including population, births, marriages, deaths, education, crime, prices, transport and agriculture. This report contains 72 tables on a wide variety of topics. We have also published a book containing a selection of the content from this report. I hope that you enjoy reading the stories we found as much as we enjoyed collecting the statistics and I would encourage you to browse the varied and interesting data we gathered.
Fáilte chuig an bhfoilseachán seo de chuid na Príomh-Oifige Staidrimh (CSO) chun comóradh céad bliain 1916 a cheiliúradh. Rinneamar cinneadh an ócáid rí-thábhachtach seo a cheiliúradh trí staitisticí Éireannacha ón tréimhse 1916 a chuardach a thaispeáin conas mar a bhí an saol ag na daoine a bhí beo 100 bliain ó shin. Thánamar ar réimse staitisticí ar théamaí ar nós daonra, breitheanna, póstaí, básanna, oideachas, coireacht, praghsanna, iompar agus talmhaíocht. Tá 72 thábla sa tuairisc seo ar an iliomad ábhar. De bhreis air sin tá leabhar foilsithe againn ina bhfaightear samplaí dá bhfuil sa tuairisc. Tá súil agam go mbainfidh tú an taitneamh céanna as na scéalta a aimsíomar a léamh agus a bhaineamar féin as na staitisticí a thiomsú agus molaim duit súil a chaitheamh ar na sonraí éagsúla suimiúla atá aimsithe againn.
Data for Ireland in the tables and text refers to the area covered by the Republic of Ireland. In some instances data was available only for the island of Ireland but this is noted on the tables concerned.
The population of Ireland increased by 46% in the 100 years between 1911 and 2011, from 3.1 million to 4.6 million people. Today in Ireland there are fewer young people and more middle aged people compared with Ireland in 1911. There is much more variety today in names for baby boys and girls compared with over 100 years ago. Irish names for babies such as Aoife or Oisín, which were rare in 1911, are now very popular.
Dublin was a city of extremes in housing in 1911, when 22% of dwellings were large homes (with 10 or more rooms) and 36% were one room tenements. Nearly half of workers were in Agriculture, in comparison to just 5% today. One in ten workers in 1911 worked as a domestic servant compared to only a few thousand people in 2011. The rate of illiteracy in Ireland was 8.3% in 1911 and varied widely across the country, with the lowest rate in Dublin and the highest rates in Donegal, Galway, Mayo and Waterford.
Photo: Young girl pushing 2 infants in a perambulator, 1904
Close to 10% of the population was Protestant in Ireland in 1911 but by 2011 this had dropped to 3.6%. Less than a fifth of the population could speak Irish in 1911 and this had increased to two-fifths by 2011.
Average daily attendance at National schools in 1916 was 70.7% compared to 94.1% in 2013. Nearly 7,000 second level students took the Junior Intermediate Examination in 1916 and 58% of the candidates were male. In 2015 there were just under 60,000 candidates for the Junior Certificate exam and about 50% of the candidates were male. Over 7,900 children lived in Industrial schools in 1916 and 708 in Reformatory schools. Of the 822 children admitted to Industrial schools in 1916, 146 were less than six years old while 146 were aged between six and eight years of age.
Photo: Miss Crowe and Mr Gildea with their pupils at Kilglass National School, Ahascragh, Co. Galway
Just 2.4% of births in 1916 were outside marriage but by 2012 over a third were outside marriage, with rates of over 40% in Dublin City, Waterford, Louth and Wexford. The infant mortality rate was 81.3 in Ireland in 1916, i.e., for every 1,000 babies born during 1916, 81 died before they reached twelve months of age. The highest rate was in Dublin city at 153.5 and the lowest rate was in Roscommon at 34.6. By 2014 the infant mortality rate in Ireland was very low at 3.7 per 1,000 births.
The vast majority (92%) of marriages in 1916 were Catholic ceremonies but by 2014 this had dropped to just under 60%. About one in eight deaths in 1916 was due to bronchitis and pneumonia which killed 6,708 people, with another one in eight deaths caused by tuberculosis (TB) which killed 6,471 people. Most deaths in 2014 occurred in older age groups but deaths in 1916 were spread more evenly across all age groups – one in five deaths in 1916 occurred to a child under 15 years of age. Life expectancy has risen strongly since 1911 for all age groups, with the greatest increases for younger age groups. A baby boy born in 2011 can expect to live for nearly 25 more years than a baby born in 1911, while a baby girl born in 2011 can expect to have an extra 28.6 years of life compared to a girl born in 1911.
In 1916 the overall fiscal situation in Ireland was very favourable for the British Government. Nearly £24 million was raised in Ireland but just over half of this, £12.6 million, was spent in Ireland, giving a surplus of over £11 million towards the war effort in Britain. The basket of goods used for the Consumer Price index in 1922 shows that just over 57% of average household expenditure was on food and non-alcoholic drink 1911, compared to just 11.4% in 2011. The number of farms fell by over 60% between 1915 and 2010 while average farm size in Ireland more than doubled, increasing from 14 to 33 hectares over the same time period.
There were nearly 10,000 cars in Ireland in 1915, with cars registered in every county in Ireland while by 2014 there were 1.9 million private cars. Cork had a fleet of 35 electric trams in 1901 while the trams in Dublin had a fleet of 330 by 1911 and operated on lines which ran for 60 miles (96 km). By 2013 the Luas Red and Green lines in Dublin were 37km in length.
Photo: Mr. Meardon, Bonmahon mines, and group in motor cars, 1906.
The population of Ireland grew from 3,139,688 people in 1911 to 4,588,252 by 2011, an increase of 46%. The five counties with the largest increases in population between 1911 and 2011 were all in Leinster. The population of Dublin County more than quadrupled, from 172,394 people in 1911 to 745,457 by 2011 while the population of Kildare more than tripled over the same time period. Meath had a population increase of 183%, and there were also large increases in Wicklow (125%) and Louth (93%).
Nine counties saw population declines between 1911 and 2011, - Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Cavan, Sligo, Monaghan, Longford, Kerry and Donegal. These decreases ranged from a 50% drop in Leitrim to a decrease of 4% in Donegal.
The age structure of the Irish population has changed markedly between 1911 and 2011 with fewer young people and more middle aged people in 2011. In 1911 just under half the population was aged under 25 but this had dropped to 33.9% by 2011. The proportion of middle aged people in Ireland (aged between 45 and 64) was 15.4% in 1911 and this had increased to 22.7% by 2011. (Tables 1.1 and 1.2)
Photo: Woman and 3 children outside thatched cottage, probably Ahascragh, Co. Galway
There is much more variety in names in 2014 compared with 1911. In 1911 the top 40 names for baby boys were used to name 69% of all baby boys compared to just 41% in 2014. One in ten baby boys in 1911 were named John with just under one in ten called Patrick. By 2014 the most popular names for boys (Jack and James) were each used for about 2% of baby boys.
Of the top ten names used for baby boys in 1911, six names make it into the top 40 names for boys in 2014 – John, Patrick, James, Michael, Thomas and Daniel. The name James was the third most popular name in 1911 and was the second most popular in 2014. By 2014 Irish names for baby boys have risen in popularity. Ten of the names in the top 40 in 2014 are Irish in origin – Conor, Seán, Oisín, Liam, Cian, Cillian, Darragh, Fionn, Finn and Rian. None of these “Irish” names are in the list of the most popular 40 names for baby boys in 1911. Se we can see that over the last 100 years parents have enthusiastically embraced using names with an Irish origin for naming baby boys.
Just as with names for baby boys, there is much more variety in names for baby girls in 2014 compared with 1911. In 1911 the top 40 names for baby girls were used to name 63% of all baby girls compared to just 35% in 2014. Mary was used to name 12% of baby girls in 1911 with 6.7% called Bridget. By 2014 the most popular name for baby girls, Emily, was used for just 1.9% of girls while Sophie was used for 1.4% of girls. Neither Emily nor Sophie appear in the top 40 list from 1911.
Most of the names for baby girls which were in the top 40 names in 1911 are not in popular use today. Of the top ten names used for baby girls in 1911, just one name – Kate – makes it into the top 40 names for girls in 2014. By 2014 Irish names for baby girls are preferred by many parents. Eight of the names in the most popular 40 names in 2014 are Irish in origin – Aoife, Saoirse, Caoimhe, Ciara, Niamh, Cara, Róisín and Erin. None of these “Irish” names appear in the 1911 list of popular names for baby girls. So we can see that over the last 100 years parents have enthusiastically embraced using names with an Irish origin for naming baby girls, just as they have also done for baby boys. (Tables 1.6, 1.7)
Photo: Lady Waterford and baby, circa 1900-1910
The Census information for 1911 shows that nearly 10% of housing units had ten or more rooms, which is a very large dwelling, compared with just 2.8% in 2011. Of the 66,662 housing units in Dublin in 1911, 14,518 or 21.8% had ten or more rooms, compared with 1.6% in 2011. There were 23,977 one room dwellings in Dublin in 1911, 36% of the total. Thus Dublin in 1911 was very much a place of extremes for housing – 21.8% of dwellings were large homes and 36% were one room tenements.
More than 10% of all dwellings had ten or more rooms in 1911 in Cork, Wexford, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Waterford, Kildare and Carlow while less than 5% of housing units had ten or more units in Mayo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Clare. By 2011 just 2.8% of all dwellings nationally had ten or more rooms and this proportion was relatively stable across the country with the exception of Dublin where just 1.6% was in this size category. (Tables 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3)
Nearly half of workers were in Agriculture in 1911 in comparison to just 4.9% in 2011. Just over a quarter worked in manufacturing jobs in 1911 compared to 8.6% in 2011. One in ten workers in 1911 worked as a domestic servant compared to only a few thousand people in 2011. (Table 2.4)
Out of the total population in Ireland in 1911, 260,694 were recorded in the Census as illiterate, i.e., as not being able to read and write. The percentage who were classified as illiterate was 8.3% in 1911 and varied quite widely across the country. Dublin had the lowest illiterate rate at 3.8%. Other counties where the rate was less than 6% were Kildare, Tipperary, Laois, Limerick and Kilkenny. The highest rates of illiteracy in 1916 were found in Donegal (16.8%), Galway (15.3%), Mayo (14.6%) and Waterford (11.1%). (Table 2.5)
Photo: Members of the Congested Districts Board receiving directions from a local woman
Place of birth
The vast majority (85.4%) of people in Ireland in 1911 had been born in the county in which they were living on Census day. By 2011 this proportion dropped to 61.4% illustrating that the population of Ireland today is much more mobile than 100 years ago. In the 1911 Census, one in ten people were born in another county in the Republic but in 2011 this proportion had increased to two out of ten. Less than 1% of the Irish population was born outside the islands of Ireland and Britain in 1911 but by 2011 this proportion had increased strongly to 11.2% illustrating the important part played by inward migration in recent times in Ireland. (Table 2.6)
There have been big changes in the religious composition of the population in Ireland between 1911 and 2011. Close to 10% of the population was Protestant (Church of Ireland, Presbyterian or Methodist) in 1911 compared with 3.6% in 2011. Just under 90% of the population in 1911 described themselves as Catholic and by 2011 this proportion had dropped to 84%. Over 20% of the population in 1911 was Protestant in counties Wicklow, Donegal and Monaghan while the proportion in Dublin was 19.3% and in Cavan it was 18.1%. By 2011 four counties had a Protestant population of just over 7%: Wicklow, Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan. (Table 2.7)
Photo: Wedding group 1901
Less than a fifth (17.6%) of the population in 1911 could speak Irish and this had increased to two-fifths (40.6%) by 2011. Very few people in Leinster in 1911 could speak Irish (3.5%) while over a third in Connacht were recorded as able to speak Irish. More than half (54.1%) of the population in Galway spoke Irish in 1911 but this had dropped to 48.9% by 2011. (Table 2.8)
There were 1,784 people arrested in Dublin in connection with the Easter Rising, of whom 76 were female. The court martials which were held tried 88 people, including 1 woman. 14 men were executed while 72 men and 1 woman were imprisoned. Of those arrested but not tried by court martial, 947 people (including 3 women) were interned.
In 1916 parents were required to send children between the ages of 6 and 14 to school for at least 75 days a year but rural areas were excluded, as children could be kept out of school if they were prevented by “..domestic necessity… husbandry and the ingathering of crops, or giving assistance in the fisheries, or other work requiring to be done at a particular time or season…”. Average daily attendance at National schools in 1916 was 70.7%, so on any given day in 1916 only seven out of ten pupils who were enrolled had attended school. School attendance data for Primary schools in 2012/2013 was 94.1%. (Tables 2.12 and 2.13)
The Intermediate Examinations in 1916 were taken by second level students and had three levels – Junior, Middle and Senior. Nearly 7,000 students took the Junior exam in 1916 and 58% of the candidates were male while about 1,400 took the Senior exam and over 60% were male at this level. In 2015 there were just under 60,000 candidates for the Junior Certificate and about 55,000 for the Leaving Certificate and the gender split was about 50:50 for both. (Tables 2.17 and 2.19)
The most popular subjects for the Intermediate exam in 1916 were English, Algebra, Arithmetic and Arithmetic with Algebra with over 11,000 students taking these subjects. Nearly 9,000 students took French, 6,760 took Irish and 5,216 took Latin. All of the students who took "Manual instruction and practical Mathematics" were males, while over 88% of the students who sat exams in Greek, Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Trigonometry were male. All of the students who took the exam in "Domestic Economy and Hygiene" were female while over 80% of the students taking exams in Physiology and Hygiene, Botany, Italian, German and Drawing were female. (Table 2.18)
Industrial and Reformatory schools
Over 7,900 children lived in Industrial schools in 1916 and 708 lived in Reformatory schools. More than 90% of the children in Reformatory schools were boys while 52% of children in Industrial schools were girls. Of the 822 children admitted to Industrial schools in 1916, 146 were less than six years old while 146 were aged between six and eight years of age. (Tables 2.21, 2.24)
Photo: Net-making, Baltimore school, Co. Cork
The number of births per 1,000 population in 1916 was 20.6 with the highest birth rate in Dublin City at 28.1. The lowest birth rates in 1916 were in Dublin County at 16.1 and in Carlow at 17.5. By 2012 the birth rate had fallen to 15.6 for Ireland and the highest rates were in Dublin County at 17.7, Kildare at 17.2 and Meath at 17.1. The lowest birth rate in 2012 was 12.8 in Donegal. Just 2.4% of births in 1916 were outside marriage but by 2012 over a third of births were outside marriage. The highest rates of births outside marriage in 2012 were in Dublin City, Waterford, Louth and Wexford where rates were over 40%. (Tables 3.1 and 3.2)
The infant mortality rate was 81.3 in Ireland in 1916, i.e., for every 1,000 babies born during 1916, 81 died before they reached twelve months of age. The infant mortality rate was highest in Dublin City at 153.5, followed by Dublin County at 102.2 and Limerick at 101.1. The lowest rates of infant mortality in 1916 were in Roscommon at 34.6, Leitrim at 45.9, Kerry at 51 and Mayo at 51.4. By 2014 the infant mortality rate in Ireland was very low at 3.7 per 1,000 births.
There were 5,271 deaths in the area now covered by the Republic of Ireland to babies under 12 months of age in 1916 and the number for the whole island was 7,627. The main cause recorded for deaths in babies less than one year old in 1916 was malnutrition and weakness which accounted for 2,056 deaths or 27% of the total on the island. Convulsions was given as the reason for 11.7% of infant deaths while diarrheal diseases accounted for 11.6% of infant deaths. (Tables 3.1, 3.3 and 3.4)
The vast majority (92%) of the 15,207 marriages in 1916 were Catholic ceremonies while Church of Ireland and Presbyterian ceremonies accounted for 7% of all ceremonies. In 1916 one quarter of all marriages were Church of Ireland or Presbyterian in Monaghan. Other counties with a high proportion of Church of Ireland or Presbyterian marriages were Donegal (18%), County Dublin (16%), Cavan (15%) and Wicklow (15%). Less than 1% of marriages in 1916 were Civil ceremonies while 0.5% were other ceremonies (Methodists, Society of Friends, Jews and other religions).
Between 1916 and today there has been a large decrease in the proportion of Catholic marriage ceremonies, with just under 60% of the 22,045 marriages in 2014 taking place in a Catholic Church. There has been a corresponding growth of Civil ceremonies (28% of all marriages in 2014) and “Other” ceremonies (10%), (which include Spiritualist and Humanist ceremonies). (Table 3.6)
There were 50,627 deaths in 1916 in Ireland which gave a death rate of 16.1 per 1,000 of the population, (when the population in 1911 was 3.1 million). In 2014 the population had increased to over 4.6 million but the number of deaths had fallen sharply to just 29,095, giving a death rate of 6.3. The death rate in 1916 varied widely across the country with the lowest rates of 13 or below in Kerry, Clare, Mayo, Leitrim and Roscommon. The highest death rate by far in 1916 was in Dublin City at 23.8.
About one in eight deaths in 1916 was due to bronchitis and pneumonia which killed 6,708 people with another one in eight deaths caused by tuberculosis (TB) which killed 6,471 people. Heart disease was identified as the cause of death for 5,373 people in 1916 while cancer caused 2,679 deaths. Infectious diseases (such as measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, diphtheria) and influenza killed 2,092 people.
Most deaths in 2014 occurred in older age groups, with 80% of all deaths occurring in those aged 65 and over. In contrast, deaths in 1916 were spread more evenly across all age groups. Just over 10% of all deaths in 1916 were to babies under 12 months of age while nearly 10% of all deaths were to children between the ages of 1 and 14. Thus one in five deaths in 1916 occurred to a child under 15 years of age. (Tables 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, 3.11)
Life expectancy has risen strongly since 1911 for all age groups, with the greatest increases for younger age groups. A baby boy born in 2011 can expect to live for nearly 25 more years than a baby boy born in 1911, with life expectancy at birth increasing for males from 53.6 years to 78.3 years between 1911 and 2011. A baby girl born in 2011 can expect to have an extra 28.6 years of life compared to a girl born in 1911, with life expectancy at birth increasing for females from 54.1 years to 82.7 years over this time period.
A man of 65 in 1911 had an average further 13 years of life remaining and 100 years later this life expectancy was 17.6 years, a gain of 4.6 years. The improvement for women at age 65 was higher, with a gain of an extra 7.2 years in life expectancy over the last 100 years. Thus a woman aged 65 in 1911 could expect to live for 13.4 more years but by 2011 her life expectancy was over 20 years. (Table 3.12)
Photo: Children, Co. Dublin
The thirty two county economy of Ireland was dominated in 1916 by four industries; Agriculture, Linen production, Shipbuilding and Brewing & Distilling. The first three of these activities were positively impacted by the war with increased demand for food, linen and ships directly linked to the war effort. Only Brewing and Distilling suffered in this period from sharp increases in excise duty and other controls on production. The number of barrels of beer produced in Ireland fell from 3.5 million in 1914 to 2.9 million by 1917 while exports of porter fell from 887,591 hogsheads in 1915 to just 490,422 by 1918. (A hogshead was defined as a barrel and a half.)
The Government spent £11.5 million on the island of Ireland in 1911 and raised £10.7 million revenue, giving a deficit of about £0.8 million. By 1916 the overall fiscal situation in Ireland was very favourable for the British Government. Nearly £24 million was raised in Ireland but just over half of this, £12.6 million, was spent in Ireland, giving a surplus of over £11 million towards the war effort in Britain. Taxes on imported goods such as tea, sugar and tobacco and increased duties on alcoholic products, as well as a lowering of the exemption limit for income tax, contributed to the large increase in Government revenue between 1913 and 1916. (Tables 4.1 to 4.9)
The basket of goods used for the Consumer Price Index in 1922 shows that just over 57% of average household expenditure was on food and non-alcoholic drink in 1922, compared to just 11.4% in 2011. The vast majority of average household expenditure in 1922 was on food, clothing, rent and fuel & light (87%), compared with just 26.9% in 2011. The average price of a packet of 10 cigarettes in 1914, at 3 pence or €1.22 in 2014 prices, shows that cigarettes were much cheaper than today, when a packet of 20 cigarettes costs over €10. One intriguing feature of the 1922 Consumer Price Index weights is that there is no mention of alcohol and there is no coverage of alcohol in the retail prices collected in 1914. (Tables 4.10, 4.11,4.12 and 4.14)
There was a reduction of over 60% in the number of farms between 1915 and 2010, dropping from 359,700 farms over one acre in 1915 to 139,860 farms over one hectare (equal to 2.5 acres) in 2010. The area farmed in Ireland declined by 7% over the same time period while average farm size in Ireland more than doubled, increasing from 14 to 33 hectares. The area of land used for growing potatoes dropped from 172,000 to 12,000 hectares between 1916 and 2010, a drop of over 90%.
In 1916, 45% of farm holdings in Leinster were tenanted, in contrast to Connacht where just 23% were tenanted. By 2010 only 3.4% of farm holdings rented all of the land while another 30% of farms rented some land. In 1914, about 13,000 people migrated to England, Scotland and Wales for seasonal agricultural work and two counties (Mayo and Donegal) accounted for over 80% of the migrants for whom we know the county of origin. (Tables 4.15, 4.16 4.17, 4.19, 4.22)
There were 9,850 cars in Ireland in 1915, (with cars registered in every county in Ireland), and there was 7,580 motorcycles. By 2014 there were 1.9 million private cars and 36,573 motorcycles. Ships were the only method of transporting people and goods to and from the island of Ireland to the outside world in 1916. In 1911 there were more than 80 cross-channel sailings per week to Britain from Dublin port. The ports on the island of Ireland in 1913 handled 26.5 million tonnes of goods and this compares with 47.5 million tonnes of goods handled in 2014.
Canals and canalised rivers on the island of Ireland totalled 1,365 km in 1916 and were mainly used for transporting goods. By 2016 the Royal and Grand Canals and the Barrow have about 358 km of navigable waterways between them and the main uses now for these waterways are leisure and recreation. Cork had a fleet of 35 electric trams in 1901 while Dublin had a fleet of 330 by 1911. The trams in Dublin operated on lines which ran for 60 miles (96 km) along the city’s roads. By 2013 the Luas Red and Green lines in Dublin were 37km in length. In 1916 there were over 3,500 miles (5,632 km) of railways on the island of Ireland transporting people and goods. Most of rural Ireland was within 10 to 12 miles of a local railway station. By 2014 there was 2,384 km of railway tracks in Ireland. (Tables 4.23, 4.24, 4.25, 4.26)
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