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Ireland 2022: The Year in Numbers – Part 1 Society & Environment

A snapshot of Irish society in 2022 based on data published by the Central Statistics Office

CSO statistical publication, , 11am

In 2022

  • As of the week ending 06 November 2022, an estimated 62,425 people from Ukraine had arrived in Ireland under the Temporary Protection Directive.
  • The most common surname for babies born in 2021 was Murphy.
  • Fraud crime had the highest percentage increase in the year to June 2022 of all crime categories.
  • Men were more likely than women to ask for a pay rise to counteract cost of living increases.
  • Women accounted for more than 60% of deaths due to dementia and 67% of deaths due to Alzheimer’s Disease in 2020.
  • The Accommodation & Food Services sector had the highest percentage of employees who were not fully vaccinated at 23%.
  • One of the main reasons we spent time outdoors was to improve our mental health and well-being.
  • Kildare, Dublin County, and Meath had the highest proportion of A rated homes for all Building Energy Ratings (BER) audits conducted between 2009-2022, while Leitrim had the lowest at 2%.


The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (03 January 2023) released Ireland 2022: The Year in Numbers – Part 1 Society & Environment. This release provides a glimpse of the volume and breadth of the work published by the CSO throughout the year. The data we publish is primarily collected through surveying thousands of households and businesses every week, and we thank them for their participation. Between our surveys and new data collection methods such as administrative data, the CSO can tell the story of Irish society with a unique level of accuracy. We know…Because you told us.

The CSO is continually looking at ways to improve how we communicate our data to the public. One cornerstone was the Statistical Yearbook of Ireland, which was first published in book format in 1931 as a compendium of all statistics published by the CSO. The growth of the internet and the ability to access up-to-date data meant a yearly compilation of figures was no longer necessary. This release, and Ireland 2022: The Year in Numbers – Part 2 Business and Economy published on 05 January 2023, are the first successors to this rich history. These releases attempt to tell the story of life in Ireland in 2022 based on some of the data published by the CSO throughout the year.

2022 Highlights

Our 2022 Highlights section, based on data published by the CSO throughout 2022 up to 12 December 2022, is divided up under the following topics: Our Lives; Our Working Life; Our Society; Our Lives Online; and Our Environment.

Our Lives


As of Census night on 03 April, the preliminary population count of Ireland in 2022 is 5.1 million – an increase of 7.6% from Census 2016 and the largest population recorded in a Census since 1841. It also showed that all counties experienced a growth in population. Looking at Population and Migration Estimates, there were 768,900 people aged 65 and over living in Ireland as of April 2022, which was an increase of 139,100 people since 2016. The proportion of the population now living in Dublin has also increased to 28.4% of the total in 2022 and now stands at 1,451,000 people. 

Ukrainian Arrivals

As of the week ending 06 November 2022, there were 62,425 people who had arrived from Ukraine to Ireland, of which 34% were aged 19 or younger. Using Census 2016 figures we can see the impact of the war, as at that time there were 4,624 people who were born in Ukraine but were usually resident in Ireland.


When it comes to naming our children, we picked a wider variety of names for girls in 2021 (4,741 names registered in 2021) than boys (3,863). Fiadh topped the most popular name for girls in 2021 for the first time, ousting the perennially popular Grace, while Jack remained as the most popular name for boys. The number of babies born in 2021 was 58,443, an increase of 2,484 on 2020. The 2021 total is almost 22% lower than 10 years ago when 74,650 births were registered in 2011. The top 10 surnames for babies in 2021 were Murphy, Kelly, Ryan, Walsh, Byrne, O’Brien, O’Connor, O’Sullivan, McCarthy, and Doyle.


Our brides and grooms are getting older as the average age for brides in 2021 was 35.4 years and 37.4 for grooms in opposite-sex marriages. While the most popular form of ceremony for opposite-sex couples was a Catholic ceremony (40%), it was closely followed by civil ceremonies (34%).


Cancer and circulatory disease were the biggest causes of death in Ireland, according to figures published in November 2022, accounting for 5,152 (or 55.2%) of deaths in April, May, and June (Q2) 2022 compared with 3,848 (or 57.4%) in Q2 2021. There were 1,724 deaths due to dementia in 2020, of which, 1,051 (61%) were female and of the 527 deaths due to Alzheimer's, 355 (67%) were female.

COVID-19 Deaths & Vaccinations

The number of deaths where COVID-19 was identified as the Underlying Cause of Death (UCOD) in 2021 was 3,011 (or 9.1% of total deaths). Our COVID-19 Vaccination Series in October revealed that just 14% of employees across all sectors were not fully vaccinated and the Accommodation & Food Services sector had the highest percentage of employees who were not fully vaccinated at 23% as of 31 August 2022. 


When it comes to educational attainment, more than half (53%) of 25–64-year-olds in 2022 have a third level education, the highest level in the EU-27. The release published in November also showed that over the last 10 years, there has been an increase in the proportion of those aged 25-64 years old with a third level education, from 40% in 2012 to 53% in 2022.

A release in April showed that 80% of 2019 graduates were in substantial employment in the first year after graduation and their median or mid-point earnings was €555 per week.

Our Working Life


A record rate of employment was recorded in Q2 2022 of 73.5% - the highest rate since the current series began in 1998. The number of people in employment increased by 3.4% to 2,554,300 in the year to Q3, while the estimated total number of hours worked per week in Q3 2022 was 80.3 million hours, up by 3.2 million hours or 4.2% on Q3 2021. The number of people employed rose by more than 650,000 over the 10 years to Q3 2022, and the number of unemployed people fell from just over 350,000 to 120,000 over the same period.

Job Satisfaction

According to a survey published in April, the majority of employees were satisfied with their job with more than one quarter (25.9%) saying they were very satisfied, while nearly two-thirds (63%) said they were satisfied. However, one in nine employees were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their job.

Remote Working

We are also changing how we work, as another survey also published in April showed that almost four in ten employees were remote working at some point during 2021, while only one in twelve (8%) workers had availed of some form of remote working pre-COVID-19. Almost three-quarters (74%) of remote workers surveyed said they felt they had more time on their hands while working remotely.

Our Society

Our social surveys paint a picture of how we live and how we feel.


The Household Finance and Consumption Survey 2020 published in May showed the median net wealth value of Irish households was €193,100. In 2020, 97% of households had some form of savings, (deposit or savings account or positive balance on a current account) with a median value of €8,700. As of Q3 2022, Irish households were saving 19% of their income, down from 20% in Q2 2022. The release published in December noted this was still significantly higher than pre-pandemic savings levels of around 10%.


However, our most recent Survey in Income and Living Conditions (SILC) release in November painted a different picture as the proportion of people living in enforced deprivation increased from 13.8% in 2021 to 17.1% in 2022. The number of people unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm increased from 3.2% in 2021 to 7.4% in 2022, and households with at least some difficulty in making ends meet increased from 42.0% in 2021 to 49.3% in 2022. 

Another SILC Survey in May put the at risk of poverty rate at 11.6% in 2021, compared with 13.2% in 2020. Without COVID-19 income supports, the at risk of poverty rate would have been 19.9%.

Child Deprivation

A number of surveys captured the situation of lone parents, with an online CSO Pulse Survey indicating that 41% of lone parents reporting feeling lonely all or most of the time. Figures published in October 2022 showed that single-parents were more likely (12%) to be unable to afford two pairs of properly fitting shoes for their children when compared with 1% of two-parent households. 


In June we learned that of respondents to a Pulse Survey who lived alone, 92% said they felt safe and secure in their home, while 83% said they have someone to count on if they had a serious personal problem. A separate Trust Survey published in March found that almost three in four (74%) respondents aged 65 and over were very comfortable with asking a neighbour to keep a set of keys to their home for emergencies.


More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents who lived in shared rented accommodation with non-family members said in a Pulse survey they felt like they would never be able to own their own place. Renters also featured in the child deprivation indicators publication, with almost 10% of households that rent unable to afford new clothes for their children, compared with 1% of owner-occupied households. In a separate Pulse Survey, 43% of those renting would consider emigrating to lower their cost of living while 57% of respondents aged 18 to 29 were considering it.

Cost of Living

Almost every respondent (94%) to a survey conducted in November and published in December said they had made cutbacks, with 62% cutting back on utilities (electricity, heating, etc.), 51% buying less fuel, and 49% not buying as much food. Younger adults were concerned they could not afford to start a family, with nearly three in ten (29%) 18-29 year olds selecting this option on the survey. It also found that men were more likely than women to ask for a pay rise to counteract cost of living increases.  


A Pulse survey in May showed that more than 40% of respondents aged 18 to 34 took up new outdoor activities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with 13% of those aged 70 and over. Among the activities proposed in the survey, participants were more likely to take up sea swimming in the West (27%) and Border regions (34%), while hill walking was the most popular activity in the Mid-West (33%), and cycling in the Mid-East (27%).

Mental Health

More than half of the respondents (55%) to a Pulse survey published in May reported spending more time outdoors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and of those, more than 70% realised that being in natural spaces was important to their well-being and 63% spent more time socialising outside. It found that the three main reasons to spend time outdoors in the previous six months for recreational purposes were: For mental health and well-being (76%); For physical health and exercise (75%); and 'To get fresh air' (73%). 

The majority (87%) of those who lived with a pet who responded to a Pulse survey published in June said it has a positive impact on their mental health and well-being.


Fraud crime rose by the highest level, up 43% or by 4,877 to 16,202 incidents in the 12 months to June 2022. Theft & Related offences also rose significantly, up 23% or by 10,559 incidents. However, the number of Homicides fell by 38% between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022, falling from 64 such deaths to 40. This was mainly driven by a fall of 17 (-53%) in Dangerous Driving Leading to Death incidents over this period. Crime detection rates were lower for most crime categories in 2021 when compared with 2020, according to figures published in November. 

Looking at victims of crime and suspected offenders, in 2021 56% of recorded victims of Sexual offences were aged less than 18 years when the offence occurred. For suspected offenders of sexual violence, 98% were male and 18% were aged under 18 years in 2021.

Our Lives Online

Digital Consumer Behaviour

Our Digital Consumer Behaviour 2022 release published in December found that the most popular online purchase was still clothes, shoes, or accessories at 71%, while the numbers of people ordering ready-made food online rose to 58% in 2022, compared with 50% in 2021. Dubliners were most likely to shop online (87%), followed by persons living in the South-East (84%), while internet users living in the Midland region were the least likely (70%).

Household Expenditure on Digital Services

In July we learned that Irish households spent €49m on social media and dating sites in 2020, while the total household expenditure on digital services in that year was estimated at €896m. Video streaming services at €211m (24%) was the largest category of paid for digital service followed by online gaming at €137m (15%) and online gambling at €130m (15%). The UK provided more digital services to Irish households than any other country at 34% of the total spend, followed by Ireland at 15%, and The Netherlands at 13%.

Information Integrity

Despite the increased amount of time we spend online, less than four in ten internet users (37%) read privacy policy statements when providing personal information.

Digital Transactions in the Irish Economy

In November, we learned that 41% of goods and services produced in the economy were ordered or delivered online, or both, to the tune of €154bn. Some 94% of transactions in the Financial Services sector in 2020 were conducted online, and included transactions such as the provision of insurance, pensions, fund management, and online banking.

Our Environment

Green Energy

CSO figures show the continued growth in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles licensed in Ireland. The number of new electric cars licensed has increased by 82% from 8,414 in the first 11 months of 2021 to 15,291 in the same period in 2022. At the same time, the number of new diesel cars has decreased to 26,889 new diesel cars in the first 11 months of 2022 compared with 34,174 in the same period in 2021.

By far the most common type of electric vehicle (EV) in 2021 was the conventional hybrid (45%), while one-third of EV owners had a fully electric EV, and more than one in five (22%) had a plug-in hybrid. However, the most common deterrento buying an EV was the purchase price (63%), 29% cited access to public charging infrastructure, while 21% said that no or limited access to home charging was an issue.

Separately, in April we learned that in 2020 energy taxes on petrol were 63 cent per litre compared with 51 cent per litre on autodiesel.

Energy Use

Looking at electricity consumption by data centres, a release published in May showed it had increased by 32% between 2020 and 2021. The increase between January to March 2015 and October to December 2021 was 265%.

A separate release in May also found that large energy users accounted for 23% of metered electricity consumption in 2021. Consumption by large energy users increased by 17% between 2020 and 2021 and by 80% between 2015 and 2021. 

When it comes to our homes, a detached house in 2021 used 8,039 kWh which was 56% more electricity than an apartment (5,160 kWh).

Metered Electricity Consumption data showed that Dublin postal districts had the highest proportion of residential consumption in 2021 at 18%, followed by Cork (12%), Dublin county (7%), Galway (6%) and Kildare (5%).

Energy Ratings 

Data published in September showed that A and B rated dwellings consumed more electricity than F and G rated dwellings in 2021. The lowest mean electricity consumption for F and G-rated dwellings in 2021 may indicate that factors other than energy ratings - such as disposable income, whether the house was adequately heated, and use of secondary heating fuels - may have had an impact.

In October, a release showed that more than one-third (36%) of non-domestic buildings constructed between 2020 and 2022 received an A rating compared with 21% built between 2015-2019. The most energy efficient building types audited during 2009-2022 were schools and colleges with 37% awarded an A rating.

In October, a release found that electricity was the main space heating fuel used in 84% of domestic dwellings where construction was completed between 2020-2022 and with a Building Energy Rating (BER) audit. Dwellings built between 2015-2019 and between 2020-2022 were considerably more energy efficient than those constructed in earlier periods. Kildare (21%), Dublin County (20%), and Meath (20%) had the highest proportion of A ratings while Leitrim had the lowest at 2%.


In October, the CSO noted that greenhouse gas emissions by resident units fell 17% to 63.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2019 to 2020, mainly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on foreign air travel.

However, Environmental Indicators 2022 in November found that Ireland had the second highest emissions of greenhouse gases per capita in the EU27 in 2020 at 11.6 tonnes of COequivalent. 

Rivers and Land

Environmental Indicators 2022 also noted that the proportion of rivers and streams in Ireland with high water quality declined from 27% between 1987-1990 to 17% in 2017-2020. Three counties each had more than 10% of the total length of rivers; Donegal (7,867km), Cork (7,584km), and Mayo (7,464km). Dublin, Longford, and Louth had the shortest total length of rivers,

Separately, grasslands accounted for almost 56% of the land cover in Ireland, much higher than the EU average of 10%. Donegal was the county with the lowest coverage of grasslands and croplands, at less than 40%, while Meath and Monaghan had more than 90%. Looking at land protection, herbicides were the main type of plant protection product sold in Ireland in 2020. A release published in July showed that total fertiliser sales increased by 6% in 2021 to 1.7 million tonnes, while sales of lime sales increased by 6% in 2021 to 1.7 million tonnes, while sales of lime sales increased by 50% in 2021 to 1.3 million tonnes.