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.
This chapter includes information from a range of census questions relating to the diversity of people in Ireland. In 2022, people were asked to provide details on their country of citizenship, their ethnic group or background, their religion, the languages they speak and whether they were recent migrants. Together, the information from these questions produces detailed insight into the socio-demographic characteristics of the population of Ireland.
There were 4.3 million people who usually lived in Ireland who indicated that they had either Irish only or dual Irish citizenship. This made up 84% of the population of usual residents. The number of non-Irish citizens increased in 2022, accounting for 12% of the population.
The biggest non-Irish groups were Polish and UK citizens followed by Indian, Romanian and Lithuanian.
Brazilian, Italian, Latvian and Spanish citizens were also among the larger non-Irish groups.
|Percentage of population|
|Percentage of non-Irish population|
The question on nationality changed in Census 2022 to capture information on country of citizenship. This change may have impacted comparisons with previous census data.
|Table 4.1 Population usually resident and present in the State by citizenship, 2016 to 2022|
|Citizenship||2016||%||2022||%||Percentage change since 2016|
|No nationality (incl. not stated)||71,933||2||169,604||3||135.8|
Indian, Romanian and Brazilian citizens were the groups which increased by the biggest numbers since 2016.
In 2022, the number of Polish people declined by 24% compared with the previous census, and the number of people with UK and Lithuanian citizenship also decreased.
Although up from 63,276 in 2006 to 122,515 in 2016, the number of usual residents from Poland declined by 28,835 in 2022.
A similar pattern can be seen for usual residents from Lithuania, increasing from 24,628 people in 2006 to 36,552 in 2016 and then declining to 31,177 in 2022.
There were 18,566 people present in the State on Census Night who indicated that their country of citizenship was Ukraine. Many of these people indicated that their country of usual residence was not Ireland, so they are not included in the figures published here on country of citizenship which are based on people who were usually resident in Ireland at the time of the census.
People completing the census may have been citizens of more than one country. Everyone who ticked both 'Ireland' and 'Other citizenship' in the country of citizenship question on their census form have been grouped in these results as dual Irish citizens.
80% of the usually resident population was born in Ireland. This represents a decrease of 3% since 2016.
Periods between censuses can see marked changes in the number of people resident in Ireland born in certain countries.
Information collected on usual residence one year ago provides an indication of inward migration into Ireland in the year leading to April 2022.
In the year preceding the census, 89,512 people moved to Ireland which represents approximately 2% of the usually resident population.
Of these, 22,137 were Irish citizens and 66,020 were non-Irish citizens.
Most Irish citizens came from the UK (38%), Australia (12%) and the US (8%). This pattern is similar to the one seen in the year prior to Census 2016.
The largest group of non-Irish citizens taking up residence in the State in the year prior to the census came from India, with 9,687 arrivals.
This was followed by people coming from Brazil, recording 5,175 arrivals.
|Percentage of Irish people|
|Percentage of non-Irish people|
|Rest of EU27||25|
The census question on residing outside the Republic of Ireland provides information on when people came to live in the State.
Nearly 250,000 people who were usually resident in Ireland in 2022 had settled in the country between 2017 and 2022.
Slightly more than half (55%) of these arrived in the pre-pandemic years, 2017 to 2019.
A further 113,096 arrived in Ireland between 2020 and 2022.
The majority of these people were born outside Ireland; 183,207 compared with 66,222 who were born in the State.
Looking at intercensal periods, between the years 2007 and 2011, the number of people moving to live in Ireland was 106,582. This compares with 164,108 people who moved to live in Ireland between 2001 and 2006.
Between 2012 and 2022, 401,433 people arrived to live in Ireland; of these 62% arrived between 2017 and 2022.
Arrivals from the UK increased to 36,899 between 2012 and 2016 and again to 49,422 between 2017 and 2022.
A similar pattern can be seen in arrivals from other European countries (excluding the UK) with just over 68,500 people moving to Ireland in the years 2017 to 2022 compared with just under 60,000 in the four years up to 2006.
Australia and the USA each accounted for 6% of the arrivals between 2017 and 2022.
Arrivals from Australia declined after their peak, which was reached between 2012 and 2016.
In Census 2022, a revised question on Ethnic Group/Background was asked, introducing several new ethnic groups such as Roma, Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi and Arab.
Of the population usually resident and present in the State in 2022, 77% identified as White Irish.
The profile of people usually resident in the State varies by age and sex composition for different ethnic groups/backgrounds.
A question on religion has been a part of the Irish census for many years which creates a long historical time series charting the relative growth and decline in the number of people identifying with various religions and also with no religion. The question on religion used in Census 2022 differed from the Census 2016 version which may impact comparability. See the Background Notes for more details.
The percentage of the population who identified as Roman Catholic fell from 3,696,644 (79%) in 2016 to 3,515,861 (69%) in 2022.
The total number of Roman Catholics fell by 180,783.
The figure for people with no religion increased by 284,269 and stood at 736,210.
The Church of Ireland category showed little change but remained the second largest religious category with 124,749 people.
Other categories with large numbers included Orthodox (100,165) and Islam (81,930).
The number of Hindus more than doubled from 13,729 to 33,043.
The proportion of Irish and non-Irish citizens differed across religion categories.
|Religion||No citizenship (incl. not stated) (%)||Non-Irish (%)||Total Irish (%)|
|Church of Ireland||1||15||84|
Across counties, there were differences in religion categories relative to the county size.
Mayo had the highest proportion of Roman Catholics at 80% of the county’s population, closely followed by Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon and Galway County, all reporting 79%.
Dublin City recorded the lowest percentage of Roman Catholics at 53%.
No religion was recorded for 24% of people living in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, but only for 7% of the people in Monaghan.
First introduced in the 2011 census, the question relating to foreign languages spoken at home continues to provide important data on the linguistic diversity within Ireland's population.
In 2022, 751,507 people usually resident in Ireland spoke a language other than English or Irish at home.
This represents an increase of 23% from 612,018 people who spoke a language other than English or Irish at home in 2016.
Polish remained the most commonly spoken foreign language with 123,968 people speaking it.
However, the number of people who spoke Polish declined by 9% since 2016.
The number of people speaking French and Russian at home also declined, both by 6%.
The fastest growing language spoken was Ukrainian (up 165%), followed by Hindi (154%) and Croatian (137%).
Reflecting the growing Brazilian population, the number of people speaking Portuguese at home more than doubled to almost 44,000 people in 2022.
Of the 751,507 people who spoke a foreign language at home, 57% indicated that they spoke English very well and a further 26% that they spoke English well. 11% indicated that they did not speak English well and 2% did not speak it at all.
Over 80% of Polish citizens spoke English either very well or well.
91% of Indian citizens reported that they spoke English very well or well.
Some of the highest percentages of English spoken very well or well were recorded for citizens from Malta (98%), Denmark (97%) and South Africa (96%).
Lower percentages were recorded for citizens from Ukraine (44%), Moldova (57%), Syria (61%) and China (71%).
Of the 751,507 people who spoke a language other than English or Irish at home, 212,285 were born in Ireland.
Among those born in Ireland, the most commonly spoken languages were French (32,244 people) and Polish (32,060 people).
A further 18,966 Irish-born people spoke Spanish at home.
Explore census data from county level to neighbourhood (Small Area) level