The 2022 Census profile on Religion, which was released today, shows that the number of people with no religion increased across all age cohorts and across all counties. The data shows that 736,210 people identify as having no religion, an increase of 63% from 2016 and 187% from 2011, meaning that the non-religious now make up 14% of the population.
Age breakdown highlights
- The number of people with no religion increased across all age cohorts.
- The number of children aged 0 to 9 years with no religion increased by nearly 60% to over 82,000.
- 16% of pre-school children (age 0-4) have no religion.
- In the 5-9 age category, this drops to 11%, most likely showing the influence of the church on our education system.
- People aged 25 to 29 years were less likely to be Roman Catholic (53%) than other age groups. This was also the age cohort with the highest proportion of people with no religion (26%).
- There were over 100,000 more people aged 45 or over with no religion, an 88% increase since 2016.
Distribution of the non-religious
- The number of people with no religion increased in every county.
- Longford has more than doubled the number of non-religious, up from 1,812 people in 2016 to 3,638 in 2022, but it still remains as a county with the second lowest percentage of people with no religion at 8%.
- Monaghan has the overall lowest percentage with 7% having no religion.
- Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown has the overall highest percentage, with 24% of people with no religion.
- Over 41% of UK citizens living in Ireland had no religion.
- 34% of citizens of other European countries who live in Ireland had no religion.
This data shows that Irish society has changed considerably, and the State must reflect this in removing discrimination of the non-religious in areas like education, school patronage, healthcare, and the provision of pastoral support in hospitals, prisons and the defence forces.