Republic of Ireland news

Number of Catholics living in Republic of Ireland has fallen according to census

Pope Francis celebrates Mass on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, at the Saint Mary Major Basilica in Rome PICTURE: Alessandra Tarantino/AP
By Deborah McAleese, Press Association

The number of Catholics living in the Republic of Ireland is decreasing, according to the latest Census figures.

More than 3.7 million Catholics made up just over 78.3 per cent of the population in April 2016, compared to 84.2 per cent in 2011 – a drop of 132,220.

Meanwhile the number of people to declare no religion, including atheists/agnostics, increased by more than 70 per cent over the same five year period.

According to Census 2016 data released on Thursday 481,388 people stated they had no religion – compared to 204,151 in 2011.

This group made up 10.1 per cent of the population, compared with 6 per cent five years previously.

Other changes in the religious make-up of the country included a 28.9 per cent increase in the number of Muslim residents.

The statistics showed there were 63,443 Muslims in Ireland in April 2016, up from 49,204 in 2011.

Almost half were living in Dublin city and suburbs.

There was also an increase in the numbers of Orthodox Christians and the Apostolic and Pentecostal population.

Members of the Church of Ireland decreased slightly as did the number of Presbyterians.

The data also showed that the Irish Traveller population had grown by just over 5 per cent from 29,495 in 2011 to 30,987 last year.

Almost 60 per cent of Travellers were aged under 25, compared with just 33.4 per cent of the general population.

More than 30 per cent of Travellers aged 15 to 29 were married, compared with 5.8 per cent of the general population.

According to the report educational attainment among Travellers continues to lag significantly behind that of the general population and the vast majority – 80.2 per cent – were unemployed.

In terms of ethnic composition White Irish remains the largest group, accounting for more than 80 per cent of residents.

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