Census 2016- Preliminary results: How did population change at a sub-county level?

In July of this year, the CSO published preliminary results of the Census. These are very initial results for a small number of indicators based on the forms completed by the Census Enumerators.  These results will be subject to revision when the full results are published next year.

It is nevertheless useful to examine the preliminary results as the period 2011-2016 was one of considerable fluctuation and uncertainty in population trends, nationally and in the Western Region, and these results can shed some light on what has occurred.

Previous posts provided some headline figures on population and migration data  in 2016 and changes since 2011 and also housing stock and vacancy rates  but the preliminary Census results also contain population data at the electoral division (ED) level.

There are almost a thousand EDs in the Western Region and an overview of the trends is provided here.  A more detailed analysis of the preliminary census results for the Western Region is available here.

Of the 983 EDs in the Region, 533 EDs experienced population decline, 17 showed no population change and 433 of them experienced population growth between 2011 and 2016.

Of those that experienced population growth 180 had population growth greater than 5% and 25 had growth of over 15%.  In contrast, 262 EDs had a population decline of more than 5% and of these 16 had a population decline of more than 15%.

The map below shows the percentage change in the population of the EDs (all the EDS in blue have shown population decline).  In general it can be seen that many of the EDs with the strongest population growth are on the edges or within easy commuting distance to the larger urban centres in the region.

Map 1: Percentage change in the population of Electoral Divisions, 2006-2011    map1

Source: All-Island Research Observatory http://airomaps.nuim.ie/id/Census2016/ based on CSO, 2016, Census of Population 2016: Preliminary Results

Additionally the areas showing the strongest pattern of decline and low growth are concentrated in the Western Region and down the western seaboard while the areas of highest growth are concentrated in the east of the state.

In terms of the actual increase in their population the ten EDs in the Western Region with the greatest population growth are shown on Table 1 below.

It should be noted that as actual population increase is being considered these are the largest EDs in the region.  Where percentage population increase in the Western Region is considered (see Map 1) it is often the smallest EDs which show the largest percentage increase are usually in the most rural EDs where populations are sparse and the population of the ED is small so it may be only a change of a few persons.

Table 1: Ten EDs  in the Western Region showing the highest actual population increase in Census 2016 (preliminary results).

table-1-ed

Source: CSO, 2016, Census of Population- preliminary Results EP008

 

In contrast Table 2 below shows the ten EDs in the Western Region which have had the largest actual population decrease and while the largest population increases were in and close to urban areas, the places with the largest actual population decreases are among the most rural in the Western Region.

Table 2: Ten EDs  in the Western Region showing the highest actual population decrease in Census 2016 (preliminary results).

table-2-ed

Source: CSO, 2016, Census of Population- preliminary Results EP008

 

The preliminary results of Census 2016 provide an initial snapshot of the demographic changes that have occurred over the past five years.  Out-migration has been a key factor and the widespread loss of population in rural areas in the Western Region is of concern.

 

 

Helen McHenry