On 26th October, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) released Profile 5 Diversity, Migration, Ethnicity, Irish Travellers and Religion of the 2022 Census. Profile 5 looks at the diversity of the population in Ireland, including country of citizenship, ethnic group or background, and languages spoken. Patterns of immigration in the year leading up to the census, Irish Travellers and religion are also covered.
Census figures show that one in ten (12%) of people living in Ireland were non-Irish citizens, an increase from 11% in Census 2016. Half of non-Irish citizens living in Ireland were citizens of other EU countries and 13% were citizens of the UK. The remaining 37% were citizens from countries outside of the EU and UK, including countries in Asia (16%) and Africa (5%). The number of citizens from European countries outside of the EU/UK increased by 131%, largely due to arrivals from Ukraine following the war.
The average age of both non-Irish and Irish citizens has increased over recent censuses. In 2022, non-Irish citizens had an average age of 36 years compared to 39 years for Irish citizens. The oldest average age was 50 years for UK citizens, while the youngest average age was 25 years, for Ukrainian citizens.
New categories were included in the question on ethnic group/background for the 2022 census. Categories of Roma (16,059 people), Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi (94,434 people) and Arab (20,155 people) were included. The change to the question means that some categories are not directly comparable with the previous census results. Most of the population (77%) had an ethnic background of White Irish, while 87% identified as White Irish/White Irish Traveller/Roma or any other White background. 76,425 people identified as Black or Black Irish, equivalent to 1.5% of the population. The number of people with Asian or Asian Irish – Chinese ethnic group or background recorded a 38% increase compared with the 2016 census.
Immigration to live in Ireland
The census collects data on people aged one year and over who were living abroad and moved to Ireland in the year prior to the census. This includes people who emigrated previously and are returning as well as people arriving to Ireland for the first time.
Over 89,500 people moved to live in Ireland in the year up to Census 2022, a 9% increase on immigration in the year prior to Census 2016. Of these, almost one in 4 were Irish citizens.
Compared with the same period leading up to Census 2016, the number of Irish citizens coming to live in the state decreased by 21%. In the year prior to census 2022, over 8,000 Irish citizens moved to Ireland from the UK, while more than 2,500 came from Australia. The top 5 countries of origin for Irish citizens moving to Ireland include England and Wales, Australia, Northern Ireland, the USA, and Canada. Irish citizens who immigrated in the year before the census were generally older than other migrants who recently immigrated, with almost one quarter aged 45 or older.
Outside of the EU, almost 10,000 people from India moved to Ireland and over 5,000 people came from Brazil. The top 5 countries of origin for non-Irish citizens were India, Brazil, Spain, Ukraine and the UK. Ukraine’s inclusion in the top 5 countries of origin reflects the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, however this figure may be lower than expected as many Ukrainians did not identify as being usual residents of the State and would be excluded from this figure. See here for the most recent CSO data on arrivals from Ukraine. Other EU countries feature in the top 10 countries of origin for non-Irish citizens including France, Italy, and Poland.
Long term migration flows into the State
Participants were asked if they had ever lived outside of the Republic of Ireland for a period of one year or longer. The question also asked the year of arrival in the State and the country of previous residence. This data can be broken down by place of birth to differentiate between people who left the State previously and have since returned, and people who were born abroad and have come to live in the State.
People who moved to the Republic of Ireland in the 1960s through to the 1990s were mostly born in the State whereas since 2000, people who were born abroad make up a larger share of incoming migrants.
Until 2000, most people returning from abroad were coming back following a period of living in the UK or the USA, however more recent arrivals are returning from a wider range of countries, including Australia.
Home ownership and rent for those who immigrated to Ireland in the year prior to the census
46% of Irish households who immigrated reported home ownership, compared to 9% of non-Irish households. In total, over 13,000 (80%) of households headed by a non-Irish citizen who migrated in the year leading to the census rented their home from a private landlord with an average weekly rent of €372. In contrast, there were fewer than 2,800 (42%) private rentals with an average weekly rent of €360 where the head of the household was a recent Irish immigrant.
In both cases, the average weekly rent was much higher than the national average of €273.
Over 750,000 people living in Ireland spoke a language other than Irish or English at home. Polish was the most common language spoken at home with 124,000 people speaking the language. 81% of these reported to speak English well or very well. Romanian was the next most common foreign language with over 50,000 people speaking it. The top 5 languages spoken on Census night other than English or Irish were Polish, Romanian, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Note: Data from the Central Statistics Office, Census Profile 5. Graphs created by EMN Ireland.