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.
Questions on whether people experience a long-lasting condition or have difficulties in undertaking day to day activities have been important components of the census for many years. People were also asked to assess their general health, which allows the production of detailed statistics on the health of the country. The question on unpaid carers generates a range of data on the incidence of caring and the characteristics of people who spend time caring for others. The CSO can also produce comprehensive information about childcare, smoking and volunteering, having introduced new questions in the three areas.
A question on general health was first introduced in Census 2011 and asked respondents to select one of five categories ranging from very good to very bad. Self-perceived health provides a well validated and widely used measure of actual health.
The percentage of people reporting their general health status as either very good or good decreased from 87% in 2016 to 83% in 2022.
Apart from those aged 75 years and over, all other age groups reported a shift from good to less good health.
In 2022, 52% of people aged 35 to 39 reported very good health, compared with 61% in 2016.
In contrast, there was a small increase in the proportion of people aged 75 and over reporting very good health in 2022 compared with the previous census.
A question on smoking tobacco products was included for the first time in an Irish census in 2022.
Almost 80% of the population reported they had either never smoked (3,113,712) or given up smoking (974,145).
Nearly 450,000 people smoked daily, with a further almost 226,500 smoking occasionally.
This means 13% of the population smoked either daily or occasionally in 2022.
Higher prevalence of smoking was recorded among people in their 20s and 30s. At all ages, greater numbers of males smoked daily compared to females.
Nearly a quarter of both daily (23%) and occasional (22%) smokers were aged between 35 and 44.
Just under a quarter (24%) of people aged 25 to 29 years smoked either daily or occasionally.
Smoking was more prevalent among males (15%) than females (11%).
Daily, occasional and former smokers were all less likely to report very good health than the general population and people who never smoked.
In Census 2022, the two questions on long-lasting conditions and difficulties were revised. The information reported here was compiled from a range of categories in the questions relating to long-lasting conditions and difficulties and the extent to which they were experienced. The difficulties reported included those experienced due to old age.
Due to substantial changes in the Disability and Difficulties question, Census 2022 results are not comparable with previous census data for this question. Please see the Background Notes.
The proportion of people experiencing a long-lasting condition or difficulty to any extent generally increased with age.
This ranged from 4% of people aged 0-4 years to 76% among people aged over 85.
The percentage of each age group which experienced a long-lasting condition or difficulty to a great extent increased sharply after the age of 74.
Among those aged 85 and over, just under half (48%) experienced a long-lasting condition or difficulty to a great extent.
Cork City and Wexford recorded the highest proportion of people with a long-lasting condition or difficulty to any extent (24%).
At 19% of the county population, Fingal and Monaghan recorded the lowest proportions with a long-lasting condition or difficulty to any extent.
The question on caring in Census 2022 sought to identify people who provided regular unpaid personal help or support to a family member, neighbour or friend with a long term illness, health issue or an issue related to old age or disability.
Between 2016 and 2022, there were increases in both the number of people providing regular unpaid care and the number of hours of care provided each week.
The number of unpaid carers increased by 53% to over 299,000.
Growth was also recorded in the number of hours of unpaid care provided each week, with the largest increase among persons providing care for 43 hours or more per week, up 111%.
There were increases in the proportion of the population providing unpaid care across most age groups.
People aged between 50 and 59 were the group most likely to be providing regular unpaid care.
|Table 3.5 Number of carers by hours spent caring each week, 2011 to 2022|
|Hours unpaid help per week||2011||2016||2022||Actual change 2016 - 2022||% change 2016 - 2022|
|1 to 14||80,891||83,754||136,237||52,483||63|
|15 to 28||29,255||31,129||40,864||9,735||31|
|29 to 42||14,139||14,868||18,435||3,567||24|
|43 or more||39,982||41,185||86,972||45,787||111|
In the 2022 census, the wording of the question about unpaid caring changed compared with 2016. It is likely that the change has impacted upon the comparability of the data on unpaid caring between 2016 and 2022. See the Background Notes for further information.
The proportion of the population providing regular unpaid care varied from county to county.
In Mayo, 7% of the population identified as unpaid carers, the highest in Ireland.
Dublin City had the lowest proportion of the population providing unpaid care at 5% of its population.
A question on voluntary work was included on the 2022 census form.
In April 2022, 711,379 people reported that they regularly engaged in helping or voluntary work without pay in one or more of five different activities.
In 2006, there were 553,255 people aged 15 years and over engaged in voluntary work. Bearing in mind changes to the question, the equivalent figure for 2022 was 681,246.
Males were most likely to volunteer in a sporting organisation while females were more likely to volunteer in their community.
The last time a question on voluntary work was asked was in 2006. Comparisons between the 2006 and 2022 census results on voluntary working have been omitted from tables due to changes to the format and wording of the question. In particular, the question in 2006 was restricted to people aged 15 years and over.
A question on whether children attended childcare, the type of facility they attended and the weekly hours they attended for was asked for the first time in 2022.
Just under 1 in 3 children under the age of 15 were in childcare in 2022.
The most common type of childcare used was a creche or a similar facility.
The second most common type of childcare was provided by an unpaid relative or family member.
Creches were the facilities most likely to be used by children aged 3 to 4.
Older children aged 9 to 14 were more likely to be minded by an unpaid relative or family member.
In general, younger children who were in childcare attended for more hours per week than older children.
Over 20,000 children aged between 0 and 2 years were in childcare for 31 to 40 hours per week.
Children aged 3 and 4 were most likely to spend 11 to 20 hours per week in childcare which aligns with the 15 hours per week provided by the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme.
Older children of primary school age were most likely to be in childcare for 1 to 10 hours per week.
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