CARRIGALINE is now classified as the largest town in Cork, while Crosshaven is now the fastest growing town in the county, according to the latest Census Population Distribution and Movement profile report.
Carragline has a population of 15,770 people living in the town.
However, despite Ballincollig (18,621) and Douglas (21,041) having larger populations, Census criteria means they are not classified as towns, but included in the overall area of Cork city and its suburbs.
Cobh is the second biggest town in Cork, with Midleton and Mallow following closely behind.
All have recorded populations above 12,000.
Cork County Mayor Seamus McGrath welcomed the Census figures as proof of Carrigaline's growth but said its growing population will present challenges.
This week, a contract was signed to deliver the Carrigaline Western Relief Road for the busy area. The road is designed to remove traffic from the congested Main Street, which carries up to 15,000 vehicles a day.
“The town has grown significantly and that brings about its own pressures on infrastructure and thankfully we've taken a huge step forward with the relief road. The Census figures highlight how important it is to get those infrastructure projects moving,” said Mr McGrath.
“The inner relief road is one, the Ferney Road is another and we need to plan for an outer western relief road for Carrigaline. What I take from the Census figures is that we have pressures on the infrastructure in Carrigaline and we need to see investment to try and maintain it as a good place to live, to work, to visit and to socialise in,” he added.
Cork County Councillor Derry Canty said Ballincollig should be considered as a town and not a suburb of the city because of the size of its population.
“Ballincollig has changed its outlook from a village. We feel in Ballincollig that we are a town and a town centre and something will have to change because we have 18,000 people living here at the moment. It's very disingenuous, of the so-called powers that be, that Ballincollig is not classed as a town,” he said.
“With the amount of people that are living here, we still always say that we are a town centre. We're not tied to the hip with Cork city or anybody.
“We are Ballincollig in Co.Cork. There were only 800 people here when I moved here over 40 years ago. Over the years we have built up its status and we are now a town,” he said.
Cork city and county has a combined population of 542,868 with 340,652 (62.8%) living in urban areas and 202,216 (37.2%) in rural areas, a reflection of the national balance.
Cork accounts for 11% of the national population, with 44% living in Dublin.
Just over 2,000 households were purchased in Cork in 2015 with almost 9,000 renting their accommodation.