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Census Trends in Ireland 2016-2022

In the wake of the tumultuous events of recent years, the unveiling of the 2022 Irish census data offered a comprehensive snapshot of the evolving social landscape. Delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the release of this crucial information until late 2023, prompting analysts at Experian to meticulously dissect the trends spanning from 2016 to 2022. This data forms the bedrock for the development of segmentation tools, notably the flagship Mosaic Ireland, aiding businesses in understanding consumer behavior and market dynamics.

Population Dynamics and Growth

One of the most striking revelations of the 2022 census was the milestone achievement of Ireland's population surpassing the 5 million mark for the first time in 171 years. With 5,149,139 individuals recorded on census night, this marked an 8% increase since the last survey in 2016. This surge in numbers reflects a notable shift, especially when considering the natural decline observed over decades past.

Analysts observed a nuanced pattern of growth, driven not only by natural increases but also by significant net migration, underscoring Ireland's appeal as a destination for diverse demographics. This growth, averaging at 1.3% annually, outpaced the previous intercensal period, signifying robust demographic momentum.

Ageing Population and Changing Demographics

Accompanying the population surge was an observable shift in the age composition of Ireland. The average age climbed from 37.4 in 2016 to 38.8 in 2022, indicative of a gradual ageing trend. Notably, while birth rates declined in the early 2010s, a resurgence in 2021 marked a noteworthy deviation.

The rise in the elderly demographic, particularly those over 70 and 85, highlights the challenges and opportunities associated with an ageing population. As Ireland's demographic pyramid undergoes transformation, policymakers and businesses alike must adapt to cater to the evolving needs and preferences of different age cohorts.

Citizenship Dynamics

Dual Irish citizenship emerged as a significant trend, witnessing a remarkable 63% increase since 2016. This reflects Ireland's growing cosmopolitanism, with 170,597 individuals identifying with dual citizenship. Notably, Irish-UK and Irish-American citizenships dominated this category, underscoring Ireland's historical and contemporary connections with these regions.

Health Perceptions and Working Patterns

While overall population health remained robust, with 83% reporting good or very good health, a subtle decline from 2016 warrants attention. This shift, particularly pronounced in the age group of 35 to 39, underscores the need for targeted healthcare interventions and lifestyle initiatives.

The advent of remote work gained prominence, with approximately a third of workers embracing telecommuting. This shift, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has profound implications for urban planning, transportation, and workplace culture, necessitating agile responses from policymakers and businesses alike.

Religious Affiliation and Voluntary Engagement

Religious demographics underwent notable transformations, with a decline in Roman Catholic identification from 79% to 69% since 2016. Conversely, the number of individuals identifying as having no religion surged, reflecting broader secularization trends seen globally.

Voluntary engagement emerged as a cornerstone of Irish societal fabric, with over 700,000 individuals actively participating in charitable endeavors. From sporting organizations to community initiatives, volunteering underscores the ethos of communal solidarity and civic engagement.

Housing Trends and Consumer Segmentation

Rental dynamics showcased a notable uptick, with increased reliance on privately rented and local authority accommodations. Rising rental costs, especially in private rentals, pose challenges for housing affordability and socioeconomic equity, warranting targeted policy interventions.

Experian's Mosaic Ireland provides a nuanced lens to understand these demographic shifts and consumer behaviors. From Suburban Success to Local Families and Country Choice, these segmentation groups offer invaluable insights into the diverse needs, aspirations, and lifestyles of Irish consumers.

As Ireland navigates the complexities of societal evolution, leveraging data-driven insights becomes paramount for businesses seeking to thrive in an ever-changing market landscape. By embracing these trends and understanding consumer segmentation, businesses can tailor their strategies to meet the evolving demands of the Irish populace, driving sustainable growth and societal impact.


Written by Brendan Sheridan | Experian Ireland


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