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Polish Nationals: 122,515

There were 122,515 Polish nationals living in Ireland in April 2016, the largest non-Irish population group in 2016. The population fell by less than 0.1 per cent between 2011 and 2016, the smallest percentage change of the top ten profiled nationalities.

Table 2.1 Population Usually Resident by Nationality and Census Year

Place of Residence

33,751 Polish nationals were living in county Dublin in April 2016, accounting for 28 per cent of the Polish population. As shown in the inset of Figure 2.1 the Electoral Divisions with higher concentrations of Polish nationals were outside of the city. 19,904 Polish nationals were living between Fingal and South Dublin. Areas of high concentration continue to be evident outside county Dublin, with Maynooth, Celbridge, and Donaghmore all being popular areas to live among the Polish population.

More than 1,100 Polish nationals were found to be living in each of the Electoral Divisions of Navan, Naas, Ballybaan, and Ballycummin, coloured in green in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1 Proportion of Polish Population Usually Resident in Ireland by Electoral Division, 2016

It's a Fact

  • 5 per cent of the population of Galway city were Polish nationals in April 2016

Towns with the Highest Proportional Make-Up of Polish Nationals

Table 2.2 shows the towns in Ireland where Polish residents accounted for nearly 12 per cent of the total population of the town. The population of Millstreet in county Cork was 17 per cent Polish, making it the town with the highest proportion of Polish nationals.

Table 2.2 Population Usually Resident in the State by Town of Usual Residence, Nationality, and Statistic, 2016
 Town populationPolish population% Polish
Millstreet, Cork1,56025917
Ballymahon, Longford1,86627315
New Ross, Wexford8,07298712
Fermoy, Cork6,59477412

Age and Sex

The age breakdown of the Polish and State populations can be seen by clicking an option below:

While the overall size of the Polish population living in Ireland remained relatively stable between 2011 and 2016, the number of female Polish nationals increased by 2 per cent, to 60,655 females whereas the number of Polish males decreased by 2 per cent to 61,860.

It's a Fact

  • 47 per cent of the Polish population was aged between 30 and 40 years old, compared with 17 per cent of the State population usually resident in Ireland

The average age of the Polish population rose by 3.6 years between 2011 and 2016. This was the second fastest ageing profiled population after UK nationals.

Table 2.3 Population Usually Resident in the State by Nationality, Average Age, and Census Year

Economic Status

Retired, unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability or other economic statusStudent or pupilLooking after home/familyUnemployed Persons at work

There were 102,743 Polish nationals aged 15 years and over living in Ireland in April 2016. Almost three quarters of these Poles were working (75,508 persons, 73%). This figure is 20 percentage points higher than the proportion of the State population at work (53%).

Industry and Occupation 

Table 2.4 shows the top three broad industrial groups among the Polish population at work in April 2016. More than one fifth of all Polish nationals were working in the retail industry. Within this industry, 6,746 Polish nationals were working as cashiers and retail assistants, accounting for almost one tenth of all Polish nationals at work (9%).

Table 2.4 Population Aged 15 Years and Over, at Work, by Nationality and Broad Industrial Group, 2016
At Work75,5081,970,728
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and cycles22%13%
Accommodation and food service activities15%6%

It's a Fact

  • 14 per cent of all Polish females at work were employed in sales and retail assistant occupations

Table 2.5 shows the top three broad occupational groups where the Polish population were working in April 2016. 23 per cent worked in elementary occupations (17,049 persons), the greatest concentration of Polish nationals in any one occupational group. Within this occupational group, cleaners and domestics were the most common job type (5,708).  These Polish nationals accounted for 17 per cent of all persons working in this group.

Skilled trades occupations were also prevalent among Polish nationals. One quarter of all metal workers, 15 per cent of all tailors and dressmakers, and 14 per cent of all butchers in Ireland were Polish nationals in 2016.

Table 2.5 Population Aged 15 Years and Over, at Work, by Nationality and Broad Occupational Group, 2016
At Work75,5081,970,728
Elementary Occupations23%9%
Skilled Trades Occupations17%14%
Process, Plant and Machine Operative Occupations & Transport15%7%

It's a Fact

  • One quarter of all male bakers and flour confectioners in the State were Polish nationals in April 2016

Marital Status

Table 2.6 Polish Population Aged 15 Years and Over who were Married by Census Year

In 2006, 47 per cent of married Polish nationals living in Ireland were not living with their spouse, by 2011 this had dramatically reduced to 12 per cent. In April 2016, only 9 per cent of Polish nationals who were married were not living with their spouse.

Under 25 years12.20472440944887.5327510917030630.2542812662169
25 - 29 years10.1320582877967.5431341793811534.2544068604097
30 - 34 years5.697160501301697.5009399674144645.3071153456315
35 - 39 years5.8162423010984811.339411840246658.1314878892734
40 - 44 years9.3767160900604120.350334878928463.6538461538461
45 - 49 years17.127071823204428.812922614575563.3810572687225
50 - 54 years20.989304812834231.558.0487804878049
55 - 59 years24.680851063829831.834532374100760.9230769230769
60 - 64 years24.137931034482834.027777777777862.9032258064516
65 years and over23.242.560.7843137254902

It's a Fact

  • 86 per cent of Polish nationals indicated they were Roman Catholic in April 2016

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