Irish Census (2011)

Measuring religious adherence in Ireland.

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Note: Statistics for Northern Ireland are available on the UK Christianity page.


Eire FlagA Census was held in Ireland in April 2011 and a preliminary report published a year later. The next Census was held in April 2016 and results are expected from 2017 onwards.


Ireland and Roman Catholicism

Prior to 2011, the last Irish Census was held in 2006 and showed that Ireland remained a predominately Roman Catholic country, with 86.83% of the Population belonging to the faith. By 2011, this percentage had fallen slightly to 84.16% *, but the actual numbers of Roman Catholics had increased by 4.9% to 3,861,335. In addition, a total number of 1,279 persons identified themselves as 'lapsed' Roman Catholics.

* Among Irish nationals, the Roman Catholic percentage is higher, at 89.78%.

Statistics from the Irish Times indicate that in 2011, Ireland had 2,657 churches against 2,473 in 1932.

A summary of the Religious composition of Ireland: 1834-2011 indicates that the Roman Catholic population is continuing to increase, but not at the same rate as the overall Irish population.


Roman Catholic Church Attendance in Ireland

Outside of the Census, statistics on weekly Mass attendance have revealed an overall decline over the last 30 years, which is most marked in urban areas. A 2006 Poll conducted by the Irish state broadcaster RTE revealed that 48% of those surveyed attended mass at least weekly, as compared to 81% in 1990. A 2011 Survey found weekly attendance rates in the Dublin area to be 14%.

As part of the European Social Survey in 2010, Roman Catholics in Ireland were questioned on their church attendance patterns:

Weighted Base: 1,844


Over the period 1972-2011, weekly church attendance by Irish Roman Catholics fell from 91% to 30%. For the population as a whole, the following graph details the decline in attendance:


Roman Catholic Priests in Ireland

The number of priests has fallen by 16.4% over a 10 year period (2004-2014).

Source: The Irish Catholic


Other Religions/Branches of Christianity

The 2011 Census also gave statistics for other religions/branches of Christianity with a direct comparison to the 2006 census:


Other statistics from the 2011 Census compared to 2006