Wednesday 4 January 2023

In numbers: A snapshot of Irish society in 2022

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released its Year in Numbers – Part I, Society and Environment, an overview of the Republic of Ireland in 2022. You can view detailed information in the full release by clicking the CSO logo below, but I've pulled out some of the highlights likely to be of most interest to family historians.

As of Census night on 3 April 2022, the preliminary population count of 'usually resident' individuals in Ireland is 5.1 million – an increase of 7.6% from 2016 and the largest population recorded in a Census since 1841.

Of this total population, more than 86% were Irish nationals. Some 768,900 were people aged 65 and over, an increase of 139,100 in the last six years.

All 26 counties experienced a growth in population. The proportion of the population living in Dublin rose to 28.4% of the total in 2022 and now stands at 1,451,000 people.

Names for new-borns
When it comes to choosing names for children, the Irish have long picked a wider variety of names for girls than for boys, and 2021, the last year for which full data is available, was no different. The number of names registered were 4,741for girls and 3,863 for boys. 

Fiadh topped the most popular name for girls for the first time, ousting the perennially popular Grace, while Jack hung on to the top spot as it has done every year bar one since 2007. Among the new entrants in the boys top 100 were Teddy, Daithí, Páidhí, Jaxon, Brody, Ted, Hunter, Tadgh, Tiernan and Arlo. In the girls top 100 there were just three new names: Indie, Ayla and Lottie.

Mary, for decades the most popular baby girl's name in Ireland, started to decline in popularity in the 1970s and fell out of the top 100 names list for the first time in 201, plunging to 127th position.

The number of babies born in 2021 was 58,443, down almost 22% since 2011 when 74,650 births were registered.

Surnames of new-borns
The 'Top 10' surnames for babies registered during 2021 – the last full year available – were as follows:

The CSO produces statistical data for the Republic of Ireland only.
  1. Murphy (1)
  2. Kelly (2)
  3. Ryan (8)
  4. Walsh (4)
  5. Byrne (7)
  6. O’Brien (6)
  7. O’Connor (9)
  8. O’Sullivan (3)
  9. McCarthy (13)
  10. Doyle (12).

Those dropping out of the Top 10 list were Smith, previously at position 5, and O'Neill, previously holding the 10th spot.

Ireland's brides and grooms are getting older. This trend has been in evidence for some years. In opposite-sex marriages, in 2021, the average age for brides was 35.4 years and for grooms, 37.4 years; in 1981, the average ages were 24.7 years and 27.5 years. Same-sex weddings in 2021 saw both parties slightly older: 39.9 years for women and 40.4 years for men.

While the most popular form of ceremony for opposite-sex couples was a Catholic ceremony (40%), it was closely followed by civil ceremonies (34%). Some 57% of all marriages were religious ceremonies, with 39% Catholic, 1.1% Church of Ireland, and 8% Spiritualist Union of Ireland; 8.6% opted for other religious ceremonies.

The majority of non-religious ceremonies were civil marriages, which accounted for 35% (5,987) of all marriages; the remaining 1,462 (8.5%) of couples chose Humanist ceremonies. Fridays were the most popular day of the week for marriages, and August the most popular month.

There were 33,055 deaths in the Republic in 2021. Cancer and circulatory disease were the biggest causes of death accounting for 55.2% of deaths in April, May, and June 2022. 

More than half (53%) of 25–64-year-olds in 2022 have a third level education, the highest level in the EU27. This has grown from 40% in 2012. (A report in April 2022 found that 80% of 2019 graduates were in substantial employment in the first year after graduation and their median or mid-point earnings was €555 per week.)