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Demographics of Ireland

The Irish people are mainly of Celtic origin, with the country's only significant sized minority having descended from the Anglo-Normans.


The official languages are Irish (Gaelic) and English. However, English is by far the predominant language. People living in Irish speaking communities are limited to the low tens of thousands in isolated pockets largely on the Western seaboard. All schoolchildren are taught the Irish language as a compulsory part of the school curriculum with a relatively small (though growing) number of schools teaching all subjects through the medium of Irish. Public signs are usually bilingual and there are both a national Irish language TV (TG4) and radio channel (Raidió na Gaeltachta).


The Republic of Ireland is officially 92% Roman Catholic. However there had been a massive decline in adherence to Roman Catholicism among Irish catholics. Between 1996 and 2001, regular Mass attendance, already previously in decline, declined from 60% to 48%. (It had been 90%+ in 1973.)

All but two of its priest-training seminaries have either closed or are expected to close soon. The Roman Catholic Church was hit in the 1990s by a series of sexual scandals; from the resignation of one bishop who had fathered a child by a divorced cousin to the notorious case of child sexual abuser Fr. Brendan Smyth[?]. In recent years, another bishop had been forced to resign over his incompetent handling of paedophile priests in his diocese.

The second largest religion, the Church of Ireland (Anglican), is itself in decline, with a largely elderly membership. In recent years, it has been forced to close down many of its rural churches, and some even in urban areas. A similar phenomenon is also affecting the very small Jewish Congregation in Ireland. The only religions showing a major growth are Islam and small born again christian faiths associated with Ireland's growing immigrant community.

Population: 3,797,257 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 21.85% (male 425,795; female 403,777)
15-64 years: 66.83% (male 1,271,367; female 1,266,150)
65 years and over: 11.33% (male 185,913; female 244,255) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.16% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 14.51 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 8.14 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 5.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 5.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.81 years
male: 74.06 years
female: 79.74 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.91 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective: Irish

Ethnic groups: Celtic, English

Religions: Roman Catholic 91.6%, Church of Ireland 2.5%, other 5.9% (1998)

Languages: English is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98% (1981 est.)
male: NA%
female: NA%

See also : Ireland

Maps from http://www.irelandstory.com

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