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Commuting to Work

Commuting to Work

CSO statistical publication, , 11am
Census Results 2022 Branding
Census 2022 Results

This publication is part of a series of results from Census 2022. More thematic publications will be published throughout 2023 as outlined in the Census 2022 Publication Schedule.

Commuting Trends Over Time

Reflecting a growing population, the number of people commuting to work, school or college increased steadily between 1986 and 2022 and stood at just under 3.2 million in 2022, up 8% since 2016.

  • In April 2022, more than 563,000 children aged 5 to 12 years were travelling to school, an increase of 3% since 2016.

  • Over 388,000 children aged between 13 and 18 years travelled to school in 2022, an increase of more than 38,000 since 2016.

  • The number of students aged 19 years and over travelling to college rose by 6% to 201,200 in 2022.

  • The number of people commuting to work rose by 8% since 2016 which compares with a 16% increase in the number of people at work. This difference is partly due to the large increase in the number of people reporting that they mainly worked from home, up from 94,955 in 2016 to 259,467 in 2022.

Figure 4.1 Population usually resident and present in the State commuting to work, school or college, 1986 to 2022
Table 4.1 Population usually resident and present in the State commuting to work, school or college, 1986 to 2022

Means of Travel to Work - Changes Over Time

In 2022, commuting to work by car was still the most popular method of transport, with 59% driving and a further 4% travelling as a passenger in a car.

  • The proportion commuting by car did however fall slightly from 66% in 2016 to 63% in 2022.

  • Since 1986, the percentage of workers driving increased from 45% to a high of 63% in 2011.

  • The proportion of workers travelling as car passengers saw a fall from 10% in 1986 to 4% in 2022.

  • The second most popular way of getting to work was on foot, with 9% of commuters walking in 2022, down from a high of 15% in 1986.

  • Commuting by bike remained at the same level as in 2016 (3%), down from a high of 7% in 1986.

  • The proportion of workers travelling by train, DART or LUAS remained at the same level as in 2011 (3%).

  • Commuting by bus was at a similar level as in 2016 (6%), down from a high of 10% in 1986.

  • The least common mode of transport was the motorbike, accounting for less than 1% of people travelling to work.

Figure 4.2 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over by means of travel to work, 1986 to 2022
Table 4.2 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over by means of travel to work, 1986 to 2022

Means of Travel to Work by Age and Sex

In 2022, the average age of people commuting to work was 42.9, up from 41.7 in 2016 and 40.7 in 2011. Commuters who travelled as passengers in a car had the youngest average age at 35.3.

  • Workers commuting by bus were the next youngest, with an average age of 36.7, followed by those using the train, DART or LUAS at 38.4.

  • Most public transport users were aged between 25 and 44 years, with 56% of bus commuters and 62% of train commuters in this age bracket.

  • A higher proportion of bus commuters were female (54%) whereas for people travelling to work on the train, the proportion of male commuters (51%) was slightly higher.

  • More than half (56%) of commuters driving to work were aged between 35 and 54 years, with an average age of 44.3.

  • Commuters who travelled as passengers in a car were younger, with 56% aged between 15 and 34 years and an average age of 35.3.

  • A higher proportion of car drivers and passengers were female, 51% and 54% respectively.

  • Commuters walking or cycling to work tended to be younger, with more than half aged between 25 and 44 years (52% of those walking and 57% of those cycling) and an average age of 40.3 and 40.6 respectively.

  • There was a higher proportion of females who walked to work (55%), whereas the majority of cyclists (72%) were male.

  • The vast majority of those travelling to work by other means such as a lorry or van were male (97%).

Figure 4.3 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by means of travel, age and sex, 2022
Table 4.3 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by means of travel, age and sex, 2022

Commuting to Work by County

In April 2022, Galway County (71%) and Roscommon (70%) had the highest proportion of people driving to work. Dublin City had the lowest proportion, with less than 30% of people driving to work.

  • Dublin and Galway cities had the highest proportion of people who walked to work at 18% and 16% respectively.

  • Dublin City also had the highest proportion of commuters cycling to work (10%) while people in Donegal and Cavan were the least likely to cycle to work (0.5%).

  • Dublin City commuters were the most likely to travel by bus, at 15% while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown commuters were the most likely to travel by train, DART or LUAS, at 15%.

  • People in Tipperary were the least likely to travel to work by bus (less than 1%) and Donegal residents were the least likely to travel to work by train (less than 1%).

  • The highest proportion of car passengers was in Carlow and Donegal, both with 6% of commuters travelling to work this way.

  • Travelling to work by van was highest in Monaghan and Donegal, where 13% of people travelled to work using this mode of transport.

Map 4.1 Percentage of the population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by means of travel and county, 2022
Table 4.4 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by means of travel and county, 2022

Commuting to Work by Town

Among towns with at least 1,500 people, over three-quarters of commuters in Watergrasshill in Cork (82%), Bearna in Galway (80%), Sixmilebridge in Clare (78%), Carrigaline in Cork (78%) and Rathcormac in Cork (76%) drove to work.

  • Four towns in Fingal had the highest proportion of workers travelling by train, DART or LUAS. These were Donabate (24%), Portmarnock (23%), Skerries (20%) and Malahide (16%).

  • Swords in Fingal had the highest proportion of commuters travelling by bus at 18%. The next highest was in Kinsealy-Drinan, also in Fingal, at 15%.

  • The town with the highest proportion of commuters walking to work was Dingle-Daingean in Kerry at 44%, followed by Clones in Monaghan at 32%.

Map 4.2 Proportion of the population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by means of travel and town, 2022
Table 4.5 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over - number and percentage - by means of travel and town, 2022

Average Travel Time to Work

The average commute to work has been increasing over time, rising from 26.6 minutes in 2011 to 29.1 minutes in 2022.

  • Average journey time increased for both males and females since 2011. However, the rise was bigger for males, increasing by 3.3 minutes while for females, the average journey time to work increased by 1.7 minutes.

  • In 2022, on average, males spent longer commuting to work (31.2 minutes) than females (26.9 minutes).

Figure 4.4 Average journey time to work of population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over by sex, 2011 to 2022
Table 4.6 Average journey time to work of population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over by means of travel and sex, 2011 to 2022

Travel Time by Means of Transport

Around half of the journeys to work took less than 30 minutes (49%).

  • More than half of the people who drove a car to work had a commute of less than 30 minutes (55%).

  • A further 32% spent between 30 and 60 minutes driving to work while 10% spent over an hour.

  • Journeys by train, DART or LUAS took the longest, with an average of 52 minutes.

  • Journeys to work on foot were the shortest, with 44% of journeys taking less than 15 minutes and an average journey time of 17 minutes.

  • The average time of a journey by bike was 23 minutes, with 66% of journeys taking less than 30 minutes.

  • Travelling to work by bus took an average of 45 minutes.

Figure 4.5 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by journey time and means of travel, 2022
Table 4.7 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by average journey time, duration of travel, means of transport and sex, 2022

Travel Time by County

Counties bordering Dublin had the longest commutes, with people in Meath having the highest average journey time of 35 minutes. This was followed by counties Kildare, Wicklow and Fingal, all with an average journey time of 34 minutes.

  • The shortest commutes were in Galway City, with an average journey time of 23 minutes.
Figure 4.6 Average journey time to work of population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over by county, 2022
Table 4.8 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by duration of travel, average journey time and county, 2022

Commutes of One Hour or More by Age and Sex

In 2022, 11% of commuters spent over an hour travelling to work. A higher proportion of males (13%) spent more than an hour commuting to work compared with females (8%).

  • A higher proportion of people aged 25 to 34 (12%) travelled for an hour or more to work compared with all other age groups.

  • Among males, the age group with the highest proportion commuting to work for an hour or more was the 35 to 44 year olds (14%).

  • For female commuters, the age cohort with the highest proportion of long commutes (10%) was younger, 25 to 34 years.

MaleFemale
15 - 24 years12.998.69
25 - 34 years13.7110.25
35 - 44 years14.148.97
45 - 54 years13.557.95
55 - 64 years10.916.05
65 years and over8.174.85
Table 4.9 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over - number and percentage - with a commute to work of one hour or more by age and sex, 2022

Commutes of One Hour or More by County

The counties bordering Dublin had the highest proportion of commuters travelling for over an hour to work.                

  • Meath had the highest proportion of long commutes (19%), followed by Wicklow (18%) and Kildare (17%).

  • The county with the highest number of long commutes was Dublin City (nearly 21,000 people).

  • Cork and Galway cities had the lowest proportion of commuters travelling to work for more than an hour (4%).

Percentage of commutersNumber of commuters
Cork City4.013608
Galway City4.381510
Sligo5.731498
Limerick City and County6.475216
Donegal7.274313
Waterford City and County7.323580
Clare7.863875
Dublin City7.9320647
Kerry8.014683
Mayo8.874596
Kilkenny9.253748
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown9.668306
Cork County9.7113579
Galway County10.347793
Tipperary10.556917
Longford10.81919
South Dublin10.8713268
Monaghan10.932855
Leitrim11.611529
Roscommon12.083195
Wexford12.397633
Louth13.977418
Carlow14.523431
Fingal14.7619886
Offaly14.894769
Cavan15.264895
Westmeath15.765962
Laois17.216221
Kildare17.2617395
Wicklow18.0710600
Meath19.0317044
Table 4.10 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over with a commute to work of one hour or more by sex and county, 2022

Commutes of One Hour or More by Town

Among towns with a population of over 1,500 people, commuting to work for an hour or more ranged from 3% of journeys in Newmarket-on-Fergus (Clare) and Sligo to 29% in Ballivor (Meath).

  • Laytown-Bettystown-Mornington-Donacarney in Meath, Kinnegad in Westmeath and Skerries in Fingal all had over a quarter of commuters travelling to work for an hour or more.
Map 4.3 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over with a commute to work of one hour or more by town, 2022
Table 4.11 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over with a commute to work of one hour or more by sex and town, 2022

Time Leaving Home

Nearly a quarter of all commuters left home before 7:00am and 10% left before 6:30am.

  • Among people commuting to work by car, 25% of those who drove and 29% of those travelling as car passengers left home prior to 7:00am.

  • Among bus users, 32% left before 7:00am and 12% before 6:30am.

  • Some 28% of people travelling to work by train left prior to 7:00am.

  • Those travelling on foot or by bike tended to leave home later, with 54% and 45% respectively leaving after 8:00am.

Figure 4.9 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by means of travel and time leaving home, 2022
Table 4.12 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over commuting to work by sex, means of travel and time leaving home, 2022

Time Leaving Work

Over 70% of workers left their place of work before 18:00. More than 40% of commuters left work between 16:31 and 18:00 with the most common 30-minute period being 16:31 to 17:00 when 17% of commuters left their workplace. 

  • For commuters travelling by public transport, 62% of those taking the train, DART or LUAS left work between 16:31 and 18:00 as did 46% of bus commuters.

  • The busiest 30-minute period for train commuters was 17:01 to 17:30 (23%) and for bus travellers, it was slightly earlier, between 16:31 and 17:00 (18%).

  • The most popular 30-minute period for car drivers to leave work was 16:31 to 17:00 (18%).

  • Among people leaving work on foot, the highest proportion left between 17:31 and 18:00 (14%) and a further 13% left between 16:31 and 17:00.

  • Cycling commuters were more likely to leave the workplace between 16:31 and 17:00 (17%).

Figure 4.10 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by means of travel and time leaving work, 2022
Table 4.13 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by means of travel and time leaving work, 2022

Distance of Commute

In 2022, the average distance that commuters travelled to work was 16.8 kilometres, up from 15km in 2016. The distance is calculated as the straight-line distance between the place of residence and the workplace.

  • On average, commuters in Laois travelled the furthest to work, with an average journey of 25.3km, followed by Roscommon workers who had an average journey of 24.9km.

  • Commuters with the shortest journey to work were those in Dublin City (6.8km).

Map 4.4 Average distance (km) to the workplace of population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over who commute to work by county, 2022
Table 4.14 Average distance (km) to the workplace of population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over and who commute to work by sex, age and county, 2022
16.8 km
the average distance travelled to work
in Census 2022
Source: CSO Ireland, Census 2022 Profile 7 - Employment, Occupations and Commuting

Length of Working Day

The length of the working day is based on when people left home for work and when they departed their workplace.

  • The average length of a working day was estimated at 8.5 hours.

  • Three-quarters of those working in April 2022 reported that they were in full-time employment, 14% worked part-time and the remaining 11% did not provide their working status.

  • The average length of a working day was 8.7 hours for full-time workers and 7.2 hours for part-time workers.

  • Over half of those in full-time employment worked between 8 and 9 hours a day, 14% worked 7 hours or less and 12% worked over 10 hours a day.

  • Among people working part-time, 43% worked for 7 hours or less a day while 7% worked for less than 4 hours. A further 8% worked for over 10 hours a day.

  • Males on average had a longer working day than females; for those in full-time employment, the hours worked were 8.9 for males and 8.5 for females while among part-time workers, males worked for an average of 7.6 hours and females for 7 hours.

  • A higher proportion of full-time working males (47%) worked 9 hours or more compared with females (34%).

Figure 4.11 Percentage of the population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by sex, hours worked and full-time or part-time employment, 2022
Table 4.15 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over at work by sex, hours worked and full-time or part-time employment, 2022

The average working day for self-employed people (8.7 hours) was slightly longer than for employees (8.5 hours).

  • Female employees had a shorter working day of 8.1 hours compared with males employees (8.8 hours).

  • Similarly, self-employed females worked 7.6 hours per day compared with 9 hours for self-employed males.

Both sexesMaleFemale
All8.498.848.11
Employee8.478.828.13
Employer or own account worker8.668.977.63
Assisting relative7.968.747.2
Table 4.16 Average length of working day for population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over by employment status and sex, 2022

Paramedics had the longest working day among all occupations, with an average of 11.5 hours. They were closely followed by prison officers (11.2 hours) and Gardaí (10.9 hours).

  • Other occupations with a working day of over 10 hours included nurses, midwives, crane drivers, senior care workers, security guards, nursing auxiliaries including Ambulance staff, production technicians and farmers.

  • Educational support assistants had the shortest working day (6.2 hours) followed closely by school crossing workers and teaching assistants (6.3 hours).

11.5 hours
average length of working day for paramedics
highest among all occupations
Source: CSO Ireland, Census 2022 Profile 7 - Employment, Occupations and Commuting
Table 4.17 Top 10 occupational groups with the longest working day on average, 2022

Table 4.18 Top 10 occupational groups with the shortest working day on average, 2022

Mobile Workers

In 2022, 149,480 people recorded that they had no fixed place of work. This was a fall of 14% from 2016.

  • The majority (78%) were male, similar with both 2016 and 2011.
Figure 4.13 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over with no fixed place of work by sex, 2011 to 2022
Table 4.19 Population usually resident and present in the State aged 15 years and over with no fixed place of work by sex and principal economic status, 2011 to 2022

Workplace Locations

The daytime working population represents the number of people working and residing in an area plus the number of workers commuting into the area for work.

  • The daytime working population of Dublin city and suburbs was 577,835. Due to changes in geographical boundaries, this figure is not directly comparable with previous census data.

  • Nearly three-quarters of the Dublin city and suburbs workforce also resided in the city and suburbs. There were a further 148,814 people from outside Dublin commuting into the city for work.

  • Cork city and suburbs had the second largest daytime working population with 113,067 people. Of these, 60% were usual residents and a further 45,567 workers commuted into the area.

  • Among the 10 towns or cities with the largest daytime population, Sligo and Swords had the lowest proportion of the working population who were also resident in the area (37%). There were 8,599 people who commuted to Sligo and 9,527 who commuted to Swords to work.

  • Swords and Drogheda were the only two areas with a large daytime working population that had a net loss of workers. There were over 11,000 people who left Swords daily to work elsewhere and nearly 8,000 who left Drogheda, in both cases a higher number than the number of people commuting into these towns for work.

Figure 4.14 The ten towns or cities with the largest daytime working population by resident or non-resident workers, 2022