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Geographic Changes

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Large variations in population change by county

Population change varied widely across the country ranging from a high of over 8 per cent in Fingal to a low of -1.5 per cent in Donegal. Among the fastest growing counties were the four administrative areas of Dublin, along with the commuter belt counties of Meath, Kildare and Laois and the cities of Cork and Galway.

While most counties experienced some level of population growth three counties witnessed population decline over the five years, namely Donegal (-1.5%), Mayo (-0.2%) and Sligo (-0.1%). Three other counties grew by less than 1 per cent, namely South Tipperary1 which increased by .72 per cent, Roscommon by .58 per cent and Leitrim which grew by just .55 per cent. 

Table B - Population of administrative counties, 2011 and 2016

Interactive table: StatBank Link EP001

Cities and counties

The five cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford have all grown faster than their surrounding counties. After falling during the previous inter-censal period of 2006 to 2011 by -0.2 per cent, Cork City has grown by 5.4 per cent compared with 4.2 per cent for the county; Galway City has increased by 5.3 per cent, far stronger than the county which is showing an increase of 2.2 per cent, while Waterford City has seen growth of 3.5 per cent compared with only 1.4 per cent for the county.  

Map 1 shows the population change by county. With the exception of Cork the contrast in population change between the east and west is clearly illustrated.


This map is © Ordnance Survey Ireland. All rights reserved. License number 01/05/001.


Population per TD rises to 30,114

Based on the preliminary population count of 4,757,976 persons and the current total of 158 TDs the average number of persons per TD for the country as a whole now sits at 30,114, above the constitutional limit of 30,000.

Following the 2012 review 5 constituencies had more than the prescribed number of 30,000 persons per TD. The preliminary census results show there are now a total 25 constituencies with more than 30,000 persons per TD, as clearly illustrated in Figure 2. Those with the largest number are Dublin North-West with 32,299 persons, Dublin Central with 32,016 persons and Dublin Rathdown with 31,375.  At the other end of the scale Limerick County has the smallest number with just 27,916 per TD.

The fastest growing constituency was Dublin Fingal which increased by 10,596 persons or 7.5 per cent over the five years. Four constituencies witnessed a fall in their population, namely Donegal, Mayo, Sligo-Leitrim and Limerick County.

Table EP003 on the Statbank provides the 2011 and 2016 populations along with the number of TDs in each of the 40 Dáil constituencies as defined in the Electoral (Amendment) (No.7) Act 2013. The table shows the percentage change in the population of each of the constituencies as well as the average number of persons per TD.

ConstituencyPopulation per TD
Limerick County27916
Cork South-West28343
Limerick City29338
Dublin Mid-West29397
Cork North-West29729
Dublin South-Central29780
Meath West30119
Dublin Bay South30141
Dublin South-West30163
Cork East30317
Dublin Fingal30352
Meath East30384
Cork South-Central30503
Kildare North30562
Dublin Bay North30566
Dublin West30627
Kildare South30663
Dun Laoghaire30787
Galway West30963
Cork North-Central31175
Galway East31201
Dublin Rathdown31375
Dublin Central32016
Dublin North-West32299

Interactive Table: StatBank Link EP003

Electoral Divisions

The most detailed administrative areas associated with these preliminary census results are Electoral Divisions (EDs). Of the 3,441 EDs 61 showed population increases in excess of 20 per cent, while a further 255 showed increases between 10 and 20 per cent.

At the other end of the scale population falls were recorded in over 40 per cent of EDs (1389 areas) with 147 EDs showing falls in excess of 10 per cent.

Table C below provides a summary of the top 10 EDs in terms of population growth. Seven of the ten fastest growing EDs are located in Dublin with Blanchardstown-Blakestown in Fingal showing the largest increase with 2,867 persons over the five years. Other areas showing large increases are the EDs of Glencullen and Lucan-Esker.

Map 2 shows population change by ED. The population decline (represented by the pale and dark blue) that can be seen along the western seaboard contrasts sharply with the strong population increases that are evident in the east of the country and around the cities.

Table C - Top 10 Electoral Divisions ordered by population increase, 2011-2016

Table D - Top 10 Electoral Divisions ordered by population decrease, 2011-2016

All Electoral Divisions table: CSV Download EP008


1 For the purposes of continuity the data in this release is provided for the 34 administrative areas (counties and cities) that existed prior to the Local Government Reform Act 2014. The provision of data for the new municipalities, along with the treatment of legal towns since abolished, will be dealt with more comprehensively in a report on the definitive census results in early 2017.

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Map 2 below presents population data by Electoral Division showing 2016 population and number of males and females, actual change and percentage change since 2011. Users can navigate the map using the zoom button, search for Electoral Divisions and counties using the search box or click any point on the map to see statistics for that area. Additionally, users can generate statistics for a combination of areas using the query tool and explore and download the underlying data. The print icon enables printing of user defined areas. Use the “View larger map” link to open in a new window.