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Friday, 11 March 2011

The State Of Ireland...

Census to answer questions about state of nation...

ARE WE losing our religion and getting divorced more often than before as the recession tightens its grip? How many of us are moving abroad to find work and escape the economic crisis?

These questions and many more will be answered by Census 2011, which takes place on Sunday, April 10th, and will provide researchers with a treasure trove of statistical data to pore over to determine the state of the nation.

Some 5,000 staff working for the Central Statistics Office (CSO), who are called enumerators, will begin distributing green Census 2011 forms to all 1.8 million households across the State from today.

Everyone who is in the State on Sunday, April 10th, must fill in one of the 24-page forms, which include a range of personal questions designed to create a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions across the State.

The green forms ask for basic information about the occupants of a household such as their age, marital status, ethnic background, religion and occupation. They also ask detailed questions about people’s housing, health, education and the languages they speak.

Aidan Punch, assistant director general of the CSO, said a new question included in this year’s census on a person’s general health could provide important information on health needs.

“For the first time we will know the health of the nation,” he said.

At a Census 2011 function yesterday, NGOs representing groups such as Travellers and the elderly agreed the census could provide valuable information.

“We have to make sure that old people answering questions are honest about their ailments,” said MaireĆ”d Hayes, a member of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament.

“If they have a gammy knee they need to say so to ensure services are provided,” she said.

Anyone who provides knowingly false information or refuses to complete the form is liable for a fine of €25,000 under the Statistics Act.

Mr Punch said a handful of people had been prosecuted under the Act. He said it was important to complete the forms to enable the Government and local communities to make informed decisions on where to allocate services.

People who are not at home but are on holiday or business in Ireland staying at hotels or guesthouses must fill out the form and alert an enumerator as to where they will be on the night.

People who are on holiday abroad or are on business overseas on April 10th do not have to fill in the Census 2011 forms and should tell their enumerator when they drop off the forms.

Mr Punch said the census should highlight important trends on emigration but he guessed the population had continued to increase. “I’m guessing 4.5 million but let’s see,” he told journalists.

The last census provided interesting snippets of information such as the growth in followers of Islam and a boom in jobs for roofers and bricklayers. It also charted the surge in immigration during the Celtic Tiger era.

Reflecting the multicultural nature of the country, census forms will be available in 21 languages.

BY THE NUMBERS: CENSUS 2006

The population was 4,234,925, up from 3,917,203 in 2002. It is the highest figure since 1861

There were 420,000 foreign nationals living in Ireland from 188 different states, including Tonga, Vatican City and Lesotho.

The highest number of foreign nationals were from Britain, 112,548; Poland, 63,276 and Lithuania, 24,628.

The number of Muslims living here grew 70 per cent to 32,500, compared with 2002.

The number of people who said they could speak Irish was 1.66 million, up from 1.57 million in 2002.

The total number of cohabiting couples was 121,800 in 2006, up from 77,600 in 2002 – by far the fastest-growing type of family unit.

The number of road workers almost trebled from 2,980 in April 2002 to 8,802 in April 2006. The number of pipe-layers, bricklayers, crane drivers, roofers and plasterers all increased by over 70 per cent over the same four-year period. Source: Census 2006


Report by JAMIE SMYTH - Irish Times

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