Irish Census 2016 Summary Results – Part 2 – “Back of an Envelope” Takeaways

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The summary results of Census 2016 – Part 2 which looks at social and economic topics were released by the CSO yesterday. There’s lots of detail in the 70 odd pages of analysis and statistics, but I’ve chosen just a few key figures that took my attention.

1.      The Jobs are Back in Town.

In a previous Census 11 blog, I noted that the unemployment situation was dire and very prevalent in specific groups, notably younger males in manual or skilled manual jobs with a non-Irish nationality. Since then, the unemployed count has dropped by 124k and 200k more people are at work. Of the 124k reduction – 103k were male, probably due to a combination of emigration and the improved domestic economy. Interestingly, only 12k of the increase in workers are in building and construction, so this sector hasn’t been the significant contributor to the improvement.

We should also note that much higher relative unemployment rates persist in younger male cohorts, if less pronounced than in 2011.  I would have expected to see a reduction in the number of Non-Irish in the labour force (due to the collapse of the construction industry) but it has increased suggesting perhaps a successful reallocation for the resident Non-Irish population.

2.      The Wise Shall Inherit the Earth

As every Census since 2001 has shown, the elderly are becoming a larger cohort as life expectancy increases and our working adult cohorts increase through economic migration. The population of retired persons has risen by 19% since 2011, and is now standing at 545k. The retired population, as a percentage of 15+ population, is now at 15% from 13% in 2011.

3.      We’re a Smart Bunch

It’s incredible to say that 50% of those aged between 30 and 39 years were educated to third level grade in Ireland in 2016, up from 47% in 2011. This was the highest rate in Europe in 2011 and it’s encouraging to see it increase further. Student numbers increased by over 27k (+5%) in the 2011 to 2016 period.

4.      Go wan the Lycra Warriors .. !

The cyclists have gone from strength to strength in recent years buoyed by new cycle lanes and tax incentive schemes. And it’s worked. 57k of our workforce chose to cycle to work in 2016 an increase of 43% since 2011. This is in stark contrast to the school going kids who have long ditched the bikes in favour of a lift from the obliging mammies and daddies. Less than 700 girls out of 172k (aged 13 to 18) chose to cycle to school/college in 2016. That’s 1 in every 245 by the way …

5.      And we’re feelin’ fine

The quintessential Irish Census question has to be “How is your Health in General ? ” or the “Howya? question”. The possible responses are Very Good, Good, Fair, Bad or Very Bad. The 2016 results reveal that we feel much the same health-wise as in 2011 with 87% having good or very good health and 1.5% having bad or very bad health, albeit self-assessed.

I often think the CSO missed a real opportunity to add in “SURE I’M GRAND !” as an option. Maybe next time.

Anyway, I’ll be back with a summary of Part 3 on Age Profiles when its released in July. There’s lots of data coming out during the summer including the Census SAPS and the new Household Budget Survey release. We’ll be busy. Talk soon.

@ 2017 by Feargal O’Neill

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