Cork’s population has become less religious and older

Cork’s population has become less religious and older
Pedestrians on Nano Nagle footbridge. Picture: Denis Scannell

Cork's population has become more multicultural, less religious, and older since 2011.

That's the findings of the 2016 census, the results of which were published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) yesterday.

Cork City currently has a population of 125,657, while Cork County has a population of 417,211.

Cork has become more multicultural since 2011. Of all those recorded in the census in Cork, 15.5% were born outside the country. That's up from 13.3% in 2011.

Outside of people born in Ireland, the most common birthplace for people in Cork was England and Wales, with 23,869 people. This was followed by Poland, with 15,444 people. 

Other than English and Irish, the most common language spoken in Cork is Polish, with 18,306 people saying that they use it at home. The next most common was French, with 7,184 speakers using it in their homes.

Census 2016 statistics for Cork.
Census 2016 statistics for Cork.

Roman Catholicism is by far the biggest religion with 434,722, but that is still a drop of 10,135 people or 2.3%.

The number of people who said they had no religion rose from 31,693 to 56,444, an increase of 24,751 from 2011. That was a 78.1% increase, higher than the rest of the state.

While the average age moved upwards due to longer lifespans, there is still young people are still significant and need specific support, according to the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI).

James Doorley, NYCI deputy director, said that Ireland's young population is an asset that sets us apart from other countries and needs to be looked after.

"The fact that a third of our population is under 25 years puts an onus on Government to ensure adequate resources and investment are provided in areas such as education, health, housing, transport, and youth work services to meet the needs of this large youth population," he said.

Justin Moran of Age Action said that the people living longer was good news, but that the government needed to look after them.

"These statistics should be a wake-up call to policymakers. We need to start planning to ensure a decent State Pension, accessible home care and better services not just for today’s older people, but for generations who hope to grow old in Ireland," he said.

While other languages have become more popular, the use of Irish dropped. 

Conradh na Gaeilge expressed its disappointment and has requested an urgent meeting with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss the implementation of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish Language.

"This is a firm foundation for progress, but unless the Government makes the Gaeltacht and the Irish language a priority and fully funds the investment plan agreed by over 80 Irish language and Gaeltacht groups, we cannot succeed in meeting the current challenges inside and outside the Gaeltacht," said Julian de Spáinn, ard-rúnaí.

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