New CSO report on Census 2016 results focuses on non-Irish nationalities living in Ireland by population size

20 Sep 2018

In April 2016, there were 535,475 non-Irish nationals from 200 different nations living in Ireland. Ten nationalities accounted for 70% of the total figure. Polish nationals (122,515 persons) made up the largest group while German nationals (11,531 persons) were the smallest of the ten groups profiled by the CSO in its release.

The top 10 non-Irish nationalities living in Ireland were:

  • Polish: 211,515 (persons)
  • UK nationals: 103,113
  • Lithuanian: 36,552
  • Romanian: 29,186
  • Latvian: 19,933
  • Brazilian: 13,640 
  • Spanish: 12,112
  • Italian: 11,732
  • French: 11,661
  • German:  11,531

Place of Residence

  • Dublin city and suburbs had the highest concentration of Brazilian (64%), Romanian (58%) and Italian (58%) and Spanish nationals (52%).
  • Brazilian and Italian nationals had the highest proportions living in cities and suburbs of all nationalities profiled (72% each).
  • UK nationals had the highest proportion living in rural Ireland including rural towns (50%).

Age Profile

  • Brazilian nationals had the youngest average age of all nationalities profiled, 29.9 years old.
  • Romanian nationals were the second youngest at 30.5 years.
  • UK (46.7 years) and German (40.5 years) nationals were the only two nationalities with an older average age than the State population (37.3 years). 

Labour force participation

  • Nine of the nationalities profiled had a higher labour force participation rate than the State population (61%).
  • Only UK nationals living in Ireland had a lower labour force participation rate (59.7%) largely due to a high (19%) proportion of retired people
  • The relatively low participation rate among Brazilian nationals (32%) reflects the high proportion of the population who were students.
  • Programming and software development occupations were prevalent among Spanish (6%), Italian (5%), French (3%) and German (3%) nationals in 2016. Combined, these persons (1,414 persons) accounted for 7 per cent of all programmers and software developers in the State population (19,563 persons).


  • UK nationals (90%) were highest of all nationalities profiled to cease education.
  • French nationals (34%) had the highest level of postgraduate degrees, the greatest proportion of any of the ten profiled nationalities and significantly higher than the State population (10%).

Marital Status

  • Latvians (15%), Lithuanians (13%) and UK (11%) nationals had the highest separated/divorced rates compared with the State (6%).
  • Spanish, Brazilian, Italian and French nationals were more likely to be single, reflecting the relatively young age of these populations.
  • UK nationals had the highest proportion of persons whose partner was an Irish national (41%).
  • French and German nationals were second most likely to have an Irish national as a partner (26% each)
  • Only 4% of the Polish, Lithuanian and Romanian nationals’ partners were Irish.


  • Renting was more common than home ownership for all but one of the nationalities profiled with the exception of UK nationals who had 62% home ownership.

For more information:

See CSO Press Statement: Census 2016 Non-Irish Nationalities Living in Ireland 2016

Read Census 2016 – Non-Irish Nationalities Living in Ireland (online publication) and infographic

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