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Predominantly Irish

Among those that provided a nationality, a slightly higher proportion of the usually resident homeless population was found to be non-Irish (14.1 per cent or 849 people) compared with the entire population where the proportion was 11.6 per cent.

Among the non-Irish homeless population, UK nationals were the largest group followed by Polish nationals, accounting for 146 and 124 persons respectively.

There were 247 African nationals counted as homeless, 91 of whom were Nigerian nationals representing the largest group within this cohort.

The proportion of males to females is similar within the Irish and Non-Irish homeless count. Among Irish persons in the homeless population, 58.6 per cent were male, compared with 57.5 per cent among non-Irish persons.

Table 3.1 Homeless persons by nationality and sex, 2016
Total Irish3,0312,1405,171
Rest of Europe592584
Rest of Africa5062112
Other nationalities231740
No nationality (incl. not stated)480371851

As can be seen in Figure 3.1, 84.6 per cent of homeless persons who lived in Dublin were Irish with 15.4 per cent non-Irish. For the rest of Ireland, 88.5 per cent of homeless persons were Irish, while 11.5 per cent were non-Irish.

Rest of Ireland1720223

Ethnic background

Of the total usually resident homeless population, 3,853 persons described their ethnicity as ‘Irish’.

The next largest ethnic group stated was ‘African’, which contained 598 persons, while 517 persons described their background as 'Irish Traveller'.

When examined by sex, the category 'Other white' had the highest proportion of males with 67.0 per cent, while 'Asian, including Chinese' had the lowest with 44.3 per cent males.

Of the homeless population count, 16.6 per cent of persons did not respond to the ethnicity question, compared with 2.6 per cent for the entire population.

Table 3.2 Homeless persons by ethnicity and sex, 2016
Irish Traveller230287517
Any other white background293144437
Any other black background13922
Asian, including Chinese354479
Not Stated6884541,142


In all, 59.2 per cent or 4,085 persons of the entire homeless population described themselves as Roman Catholic. A further 10.0 per cent of the population, representing 694 persons, were in other Christian denominations, of which 253 persons described themselves as Church of Ireland.

There were 320 Muslims among the homeless population and 337 persons who indicated that they had no religion.

Table 3.3 Homeless persons by religion and sex, 2016
Roman Catholic2,3511,7344,085
Church of Ireland138115253
Muslim (Islamic)151169320
Orthodox (Greek, Coptic or Russian)6955124
Other Christian religions, not elsewhere listed10892200
Apostolic or Pentecostal474794
Other stated religions10961170
No religion231106337
Not stated7944991,293

General health

Overall in the homeless population 61.9 per cent indicated that their general health was ‘Very good’ or ‘Good’. The corresponding figure for the entire population was 87.0 per cent. On the other hand, 18.8 per cent of homeless persons had health which was ‘Fair’, ‘Bad’ or ‘Very bad’ compared with 9.6 per cent for the general population.

Females in the homeless population had better health than males, with 67.6 per cent of females describing their health as ‘Good’ or better compared with 57.8 per cent of males.

As with the overall population, general health tended to decline among older age groups in the homeless population. In the age group 15 to 24 the results show that 72.0 per cent had ‘Very good’ or ‘Good’ health. In contrast, 38.5 per cent of those aged 55-64 had ‘Very good’ or Good’ health.

Homeless personsAll persons
Very good33.559.4
Very bad0.80.3
Not stated19.33.3

Interactive table: StatBank Link E5012

Not StatedVery BadBadFairGoodVery good

Interactive table: StatBank Link E5013


The proportion of persons with a disability among the homeless population was higher than for the general population. A total of 1,871 persons had a disability, representing 27.1 per cent of the total, in contrast to the general population where the rate was 13.5 per cent.

The most common type of disability among the homeless population was a difficulty with pain, breathing or another chronic illness or condition, accounting for 12.2 per cent of homeless persons. A further 11.9 per cent had a psychological or an emotional condition, with 9.0 per cent indicating either a difficulty working at a job or business or attending school/college or a difficulty learning, remembering or concentrating.

Table 3.4 Homeless persons with one or more disabilities and total number of disabilities by category, 2016
CategoryNumber of disabilities
Blindness or serious vision impairment158
Deafness or serious hearing impairment131
Difficulty with basic physical activities581
Intellectual disability213
Difficulty with learning, remembering or concentrating621
Psychological or emotional condition825
Difficulty with pain, breathing, chronic illness840
Difficulty dressing, getting around the home246
Difficulty going outside362
Difficulty with working or attending school/college619
Difficulty with other activities509
Total number of disabilities5,105
Number of persons with a disability1,871
Total homeless population6,906
No disability/ Not statedDisability
Homeless population72.927.1
All persons86.513.5

Interactive table: StatBank Link E5014

Type of accommodation

Homeless persons were identified based on where they were on Census Night rather than by self-identification. Accommodation for homeless persons is categorised as either Private Emergency Accommodation, PEA, (namely commercial hotels and B&Bs), Temporary Emergency Accommodation (such as hostels), or Supported Temporary Accommodation. Individual properties were identified in one of three ways: by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) or local authorities; by agencies involved in providing support for homeless persons; by CSO field staff during the census field operation. For more information see Background notes.

In addition, a count of persons sleeping rough was performed on Census Night nationally. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) managed the rough sleeper count in Dublin while local authorities in Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Louth and Sligo conducted the count with assistance and guidance from the DRHE. For other areas, persons sleeping rough were identified by local Census field staff.

Just under 42.0 per cent of the homeless population (or 2,891 persons) were enumerated in accommodation which was categorised as Private Emergency Accommodation (PEA). A further 2,737 persons were enumerated in Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) while 778 persons were enumerated in Temporary Emergency Accommodation (TEA). A total of 123 persons were found sleeping rough on Census Night. All but 19 of them were males. Dublin accounted for 102 of the 123 rough sleepers enumerated in the census.

Table 3.5 Persons enumerated in homeless accommodation by category, 2016
 Private Emergency AccommodationSupported Temporary AccommodationTemporary Emergency AccommodationMixedUnknownTusla (in domestic violence refuges)Rough sleepersTotal
CSO/ Agency0179128201200339
Rough sleepers000000104104
All Males1,3431,8176024812921044,018
CSO/ Agency086390400129
Rough sleepers0000001919
All Females1,54892017674214192,888