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Number of Commuters

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Commuting in Ireland, 1986-2016

Figure 1.1 shows the results since 1986 for those who commute outside the home to work or study.

Commuter numbers for both workers and students totalled almost 3 million in April 2016 (2,962,550), an increase of 9.3 per cent on the 2011 figure of 2.7 million and an increase of 62 per cent over the 30 year period since 1986 when it was 1.8 million.

In 2016, 1.88 million workers indicated they travelled to work, an increase of 10.7 per cent on the 1.7 million in 2011, which surpassed the highest previous figure of 1.79 million in 2006.

There were 546,614 primary students and 349,961 secondary students travelling to school in 2016, an increase of 9.1 per cent and 8.6 per cent respectively compared to 2011.

The only category to show a reduction in numbers was third level commuters, whose numbers decreased from 191,238 in 2011 to 190,202 in 2016, a decrease of 0.5 per cent.

Third LevelSecondaryPrimaryWorkers

Interactive table: StatBank Link E6010

It's a Fact

  • 2,962,550 - The number of persons commuting to work, school and college in April 2016.
  • 252,844 (9.3%) - The number and percentage increase in commuters since 2011.

Numbers at work

The total number commuting each day was driven by the overall numbers at work. 

The number of employees reached 1,582,973 in 2006 and then fell to 1,470,374 in 2011, driven mainly by reductions in the construction industry, but have since recovered to 1,657,744 in 2016. This was an increase of 187,370 (13%) in the last five years and 74,771 (5%) above the peak in 2006. Female employees increased steadily over the period, from 772,960 in 2011 to 840,801 (+9%) in 2016. This was 23,858 (3%) greater than the 2016 male employee figure of 816,943.

Self-employment rose during the period and stood at 308,411 in 2016, an increase of 1 per cent since 2006. Males represented 77 per cent of the self-employed workforce in 2016 and numbers remained virtually unchanged between 2011 and 2016. However, female self-employment reached 69,981, an increase of 6,957 (11%) since 2011 and 16,585 (31%) since 2006.

Working at home

There were 94,955 persons who stated they worked 'mainly at or from home' in 2016. While this was still below the 2006 peak of 105,706, it represents an increase of 14 per cent on the 2011 figure of 83,326.

Mobile workers

174,628 workers noted that they had no fixed place of work, up 26,451 (18%) on the 148,117 in 2011.

Figure 1.2 shows the changes in the usually resident workforce over the ten year period 2006 to 2016.

EmployeeSelf EmployedAssisting Relative
Male 20068303242510142759
Female 2006752649533962645
Male 20116974142392402521
Female 2011772960630243241
Male 20168169432384302192
Female 2016840801699812381

Interactive table: StatBank Link E6038

It's a Fact

  • 23,858 - The number by which female employees exceed male employees in 2016.
  • 23% - The percentage of the self-employed workforce that is female in 2016.
  • 94,955 - The number of persons who worked at home in 2016.
  • 69,981 - The number of self-employed females in 2016.

Changes in persons at work since 2011

All counties have seen an increase in the number of people at work between 2011 and 2016. However, the level of this increase varied substantially.

The cities of Cork and Dublin had the highest percentage increase in numbers at work, both increased by 17 per cent and brought the numbers at work in Cork City to over 50,000 and Dublin City to over 265,000.

At the other end of the scale, the numbers at work in Sligo grew by only 2 per cent to 26,000. Counties in the west and midlands generally grew by less than 10 per cent, with the exception of Galway city which grew 11 per cent to almost 35,000.

% Change
Cork City17.2
Dublin City16.8
South Dublin11.9
Galway City10.8
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown9.6
Cork County9.4
Waterford City and County8.7
Limerick City and County8.6
Galway County8.5

It's a Fact

  • 47,753 - The number of employees in Donegal.
  • 16,102 - The number of self-employed workers in Fingal.