The Census 2016 Thread


The CSO have confirmed that they will publish the first Census 2016 output on Thursday of this week, 14 July.

Between censuses of 2006 and 2011 they managed to underestimate the population by a whopping 100,000.

I will happily predict (with no inside information) that they have done the same again, although perhaps more in the 50,000 range.

Their quarterly survey methodology is basically not very good at catching new migrant households. It may be overcounting those leaving existing households too. Result is a downward bias in net migration estimates.

Several data points suggest in migration has been hotting up a lot since 2013:
PPS numbers to non-nationals: 68k in 2011, 87k in 2013, 95k in 2015, data to end-May 16 up 14% year on year
Flight numbers up 20% 2015 compared to 2013 (appreciate much of this is tourist and transit but still)

Their last estimate for the April 2015 was 4.635m. Natural increase would pull that up to about 4.665m April 2016.

These estimates suggested net **outward **migration of 66k between April 2012 and April 2015. The same methodology came up with **additional **employment of 122k over the same period. This simply does not compute. Employment growing at this clip has never been accompanied by out migration - this relationship holds for as long as these things have been counted.

Getting back to the likely error, even 30,000 (assuming 2.5 persons per household) is 12,000 housing units the government didn’t think we needed last week.

Even RonanL agrees with me, predicting 4.75m!


A higher population than expected would also lead to an upwards revision of GDP estimates.


I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere in Dublin but around the Southside suburbs there is a notably large increase in Asians in recent years (Indians/Pakistanis?) Go to any large supermarket (e.g. Dunnes, Cornelscourt) or Dundrum and you’ll see them in their droves, often as family groups with young kids in tow and even grandparents. Are they all doctors, IT workers, Taxi Drivers? Probably a bit of everything.

(Also, I heard French being spoken three times in one day locally - in a shop, at an ATM and in a park - all different people/locations.)


Really? Why? I don’t know how it’s calculated, but Wikipedia doesn’t seem to indicate that more people would lead to a higher GDP figure (


I was told by a British citizen Ireland had the largest rate of immigration in the EU and they had voted to remain.

I wonder is it a per capita stat. I didn’t follow it up but it feels that way at times more than it ever did.

I’ve noticed a change in the wave of new faces/bodies in Dublin city centre. More and more people looking like the young lads of a type of demographic we saw on the youtube videos from last year pouring across borders looking for the promised land as such… Also it seems a lot more people of the muslim faith who are less westernised in their apparel i.e. are dressed in more traditional dress. To contrast that with about two years years ago all I was seeing were Brazilians everywhere I looked or at least a very noticeable South American vote to all the new faces. Now they’ve all got jobs while they learn english and I’m amazed how fast they learn the native language! :wink:

This constant influx from so many parts of the world in what is wave like, coincides with the chronic supply shortage of the rental sector. No surprises there really but you probably don’t here that discussed much when talking about the problem.


Not true; we do have a higher rate of net immigration than the UK, but theirs isn’t dramatically high. A number of EU countries are ahead of us: … 2rank.html

(Note that those figures include returnees who left during the Great Depcession; not everyone coming in is a non-national).

It’s also not the case that it’s higher than ever; in 2008 it was the highest in Europe, at 14 per thousand!

It’s notable that, with all this immigration, and one of the best birth to death ratios in Europe, we’re still… a bit under the post-famine population, from the early 1850s, and far below the pre-famine population. Not many countries in Europe can say that they have a lower population now than in 1840.


It would in fact boost GDP.

It is technical but more workers means more labour income which is one way of getting to GDP.


Ok thanks for looking up the official figures. Let’s wait to see if the Census reveals anything. I will admit that my bias would be being located in the capital were everyone walks through at some point so I’m aware I’m in confirmation bias central. There are though very observable trends in the faces from places.

Anecdotally when you speak to a landlord who didn’t care if they had 10+ Chinese people living in a four bedroom house at any given time as long as they got the big money, you have to wonder what the real numbers truly are… For example I seem to remember comments here on elsewhere along the lines that official figures but the Chinese population at 20K in Ireland but the Chinese embassy guiding more like 120K… did I read that here?


City centre? A lot of immigrants, particularly recent immigrants, end up in the city centre. Many Irish people think nothing of commuting an hour each way into town from work, but nearly everyone from outside the country (particularly from continental Europe) I’ve talked to think that’s completely mad. (I’m inclined to agree, mind you…) It’s amazing how much demographics change once you even get into double-digit Dublin numbers.


Yes that’s my point about my geo-locational-bias. A Capital city is always going to attract the largest population of immigrants purely on economic grounds. I’m sure there are the odd few exceptions. So what I see are the wave of faces from places as I put it earlier. I notice it with traffic too and other things not just people. It’s a privilege to compose it against the smooth ability of the number gathers here.


I don’t think it’s just economic; there’s probably also a cultural element. Irish people are less inclined to like living in cities. If you look at Dublin, it’s much lower density than most comparable European cities.


Irish people don’t fancy running a permagauntlet of skangers all the time and that’s what you get in the City Centre. Irish people don’t mind living in the centre of Galway quite as much.

Preliminary census results are due this week or next I understand and I’ll hazard the headline figure at 4.68m so I will. :slight_smile:


Yes but no. If you read that Wikipedia article all three methods of calculating GDP should reach the same result; if there are more people (NOT workers) the GDP per capita goes down and the GDP stays the same. Remember that we know how many workers there are directly (from the Revenue) so the census stats presumably wouldn’t impact that. It would just drop us down the GDP per capita rankings.

Unless I’m missing something?


Seamus Coffey discussed some of the factors at the time of the last census: … nomic.html


They don’t reach the same result though because they are compiled from separate data sources. An average is essentially taken to get GDP. So an increase in labour income pushes up GDP. The effect on GDP per capita is ambiguous. It depends on whether those counted are disproportionately workers or not.

PS: Revenue don’t actually know how many workers there are on an annual basis very well. Their systems are set up to collect tax not count workers. In particular it’s very hard to get a handle on the self-employed until you do a census.

PPS: Yesterday’s numbers prove that this is one of the smaller causes of error in the national accounts.


Understatement of the year.
Id have more faith in the Census figures also
Depopulation rates in rural areas will be interesting.

Hopeful they will expand on their previous prelim data release in 2011


If I recall correctly, Limerick city was the only area where the population dropped 5 years ago. But the city and county boundaries had been changed so that may have explained it.

Will be interesting to see if that has increased this time round or if Limerick remains a ‘dead’ city.


Large sections of Dublin showed decreases also … mplete.pdf

See map 4
Ballymun, tallaght, sallynoggin, deansgrange, cabra, etc


I don’t understand this. Revenue knows exactly how many workers there are paying tax. Every single PAYE worker is accounted for in the annual P35, and self-employed will be picked up by income tax returns surely?

Of course what you don’t get is black economy – however surely those people are also unlikely to admit to being working for profit in their census forms.

But this is surely the case. Only black economy workers won’t have been counted by the revenue. So if there’s an extra 100,00 people, the legit ones will already be counted, and many will presumably not admit to working on the census.

Unless I’m still missing something I can’t see how the extra people will push up GDP.


I feel that the estimate of 4.75 million may be a bit too high. I would have placed it at 4.7 million or less.

However, the previous comments about systemic undercounting of migrants are, in my view, completely valid. It may be that such undercounting has been addressed. If this is case, then the number could easily be 4.75 million or even higher.

Don’t you just hate when someone goes back over your old work and points out its after-the-event flaws. This summarises the CSO population projections produced in 2002, 2006 and 2011 with the actual population shown in red. The various scenarios for each year are shown. These scenarios vary in assumptions about net (im)migration.

This is just a gross view, showing the total population size. You could drill down into both age and location details.

There is wide variation in these projections. This is especially true of those produced in 2006 which were really quite poor, even in the very short term, mainly due to immigration.

Demographics has a major impact on property requirements, demand and prices. These demographic changes include:

• Population increases in “property requiring” age
• Longer lifespans
• Divorce and separation
• Smaller families

I have been droning on about this for some time.

Demographics also has major impacts in many other social areas: from demand for healthcare to transport and crime. Immigration has a societal impact in that it causes change. Too much societal change too quickly that is ignored and dismissed as racism leads to UKIP, Brexit, Trump, Front National and similar.

Immigration has an impact disproportionate to its net impact on overall population increase. Migrants are mainly all of an age when they are looking for property, either directly to buy or indirectly to rent. Migration is not spread evenly around the entire country and so has a disproportionately large impact on Dublin which receives more immigration, both internal and external.

It all looks bad (or good, if you want substantial increases) for Dublin property prices.

You could add these comments to the Let Do Things Differently thread: pay more attention to demographics and take a more activist and interventionist approach to addressing it consequences.