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Occupied Dwellings

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Fall in number of young householders

The following section of this release will concentrate on analysing the 1,697,665 dwellings occupied by persons usually resident in the State, otherwise termed as permanent occupied dwellings or households in census reports. The Vacant Dwellings chapter will examine the unoccupied housing stock.

As mentioned previously, the number of occupied dwellings grew by 48,257 from 2011 to 2016. However Figure 2.1 shows that adults living longer have been a major reason for the growth in households over this period.

There were 83,198 fewer homes headed by persons aged 35 years or younger in 2016 compared with 2011. While this can be partially explained by a decrease in persons aged 25-34 (down from 755,067 in 2011 to 659,410 five years later), the percentage of this age group who are householders (i.e. the headship rate) has dropped considerably from 41.3 per cent in 2011 to 37.2 per cent in 2016.

However there was an increase of 131,455 households where the head of household was aged 35 years or more in the last intercensal  interval with older households (65 years or more) accounting for 45 per cent of this rise.

Years oldChange 2011-2016
< 25-16335

Average household size on the rise

Census 2016 revealed that the average number of persons per household recorded an increase for the first time since 1966. In 2011 there were on average 2.73 persons per households. The equivalent figure stood at 2.75 in 2016.

The largest increase in average household size between 2011 and 2016 occurred in Fingal (2.92 to 3.03), followed by Dublin City where the average number of persons in a private dwelling increased from 2.40 to 2.48. Four counties (Fingal, Meath, Kildare, South Dublin) had at least three persons per household on average in April 2016.

The growth in household size was confined to the urban areas (i.e. settlements with a population of 1,500 persons or more) with an increase from 2.64 to 2.69. However in rural areas, the downward trend in the average number of persons per household continued in the 2011-2016 intercensal period (2.87 to 2.84).

Map 2.1 shows the percentage change in average household size by electoral divisions.


Interactive table: StatBank Link E1011

Map 2.1 Percentage change in average household size by electoral division, 2011 – 2016

View Map


Just two per cent of dwellings built since 2011

The slowdown in housing stock growth can also be observed when analysing the year of construction among occupied dwellings.

Just 33,436 householders indicated their dwelling was built between 2011 and 2016, an average of just 6,687 per year. In contrast, 431,763 households stated that their dwelling was built between 2001 and 2010, an average of 43,176 per year. 

Figure 2.3 shows that almost half of new homes were built in rural areas. In Dublin City and suburbs, from a total of 422,182, only 6,598 (1.6%) indicated that their house or apartment was constructed from 2011 onwards.

% of households built
Rural area48.64
Dublin city and suburbs19.73
Other cities6.28
Towns 10,000 or over13.93
Towns 1,500-9,99911.42

Interactive table: StatBank Link E1038

It's a Fact

  • 33,436 - The number of occupied houses and apartments built between 2011 and 2016
  • 2% - The percentage of all dwellings built between 2011 and 2016
  • 6,598 - The number of new homes built in Dublin city and suburbs since 2011

Almost ten per cent of population in homes with more persons than rooms

The persons per room ratio has been used in previous census reports on housing to measure the level of crowding within households.

There were 95,013 permanent households with more persons than rooms according to Census 2016, a 28 per cent rise on the equivalent number in 2011 (73,997). Close to 10 per cent of the population resided within these households in 2016 at an average of 4.7 persons per household.


As shown in Figure 2.5, couples (including married) with children accounted for 60 per cent of homes with more persons than rooms, followed by one parent mothers with children (8.2%). Two-thirds of these households were rented, while 23 per cent had an existing loan or mortgage. In terms of geographical location, 43 per cent were within the Dublin Region.

At the opposite end of the spectrum there were 729,012 homes where there were at least two rooms for every person, representing over 40 per cent of all households, with an average household size of 1.76.

Husband and wife with children46075
Couple with children11098
Lone mother with children7884
2 family units with/without other persons5978
Husband and wife with children and relatives4446

Interactive table: StatBank Link E1035

Over 200,000 apartments occupied

The formation of households in apartments continued to grow at a faster rate compared with any other accommodation type according to Census 2016.

The number of occupied apartments rose by 11.4 per cent from 183,282 to 204,145 over the 2011-2016 period. In contrast, the number of detached and semi-detached houses experienced increases of 2.2 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.

Apartments, which have increased in number by 85 per cent since 2002, accounted for 12.0 per cent of all household types in 2016, compared with 11.1 per cent in 2011.

Within the Dublin City local authority area, apartments (74,537) were the main household type for the first time, replacing terraced houses (74,446). The share of apartments in Dublin City was 35.2 per cent, up from 33.3 per cent recorded in 2011. However, this pales in comparison to the town of Clonee in County Meath where two out of every three households lived in apartments.

Despite the strong growth in recent years, apartments still lag behind the other types of housing. Detached houses account for four out of ten dwellings, while 28 per cent of households reside in semi-detached houses.


It's a Fact

  • 715,133 - The number of occupied detached houses in 2016
  • 85% - The growth in apartments between 2002 and 2016
  • 35% - Percentage of households that lived in apartments in Dublin City
Detached house562818625988699869715133
Semi-detached house343301398360456651471948
Terraced house236422257522281825284569
Apartments (incl bedsits)110458148623183282204145

Interactive table: StatBank Link E1009

One-off housing in Ireland

For census reports, one-off houses are defined as occupied detached houses with individual sewerage systems. 

Using the above definition, there were a total of 442,669 one-off houses in 2016, representing 26 per cent of all occupied dwellings in the State.

Almost 40 per cent of all homes constructed since 2011 were one-off houses. As shown in Map 2.2, for 17 counties one-off housing comprised over half of all dwellings built since 2011.

Over 60 per cent of households in County Galway were one-off houses, the highest in the country. Roscommon (56%) and Leitrim (52%) also had a large proportion of this particular type of house.

Interactive table: StatBank Link E1063

Distance of one-off housing from towns

Of the 442,669 one-off houses, 425,840 (96%) were outside the 873 towns or settlements identified in Census 2016.

Table 2.1 shows the straight-line distance of these houses from their closest town. Over 83 per cent of one-off houses were located more than 1 Km from a settlement, while 65,583 (15.4%) houses were more than 5 Km from their nearest town.

Just 1 per cent (4,635) of occupied one-off houses did not fall within a 10km radius of any town in 2016, with just 114 of these built between 2011 and 2016. 

Table 2.1 Distance of one-off housing from town by year built, 2016
Distance from townBuilt before 2011Built 2011-2016Not statedTotal
Less than 500 metres28,25277542929,456
500 metres - 1 Km40,5671,17956142,307
1-5 Km275,7068,7454,043288,494
5-10 Km58,3301,77384560,948
10 Km or more4,447114744,635