Census 2016 Revealed: 40% of Irish Population Live within 5km of Coast

It’s confirmed, we’re definitely a coastal people!

The latest figures from the Census 2016 published by Central Statistics Office today has revealed that 1.9 million people or 40% of the Irish population is residing within 5km of the coast.

And of this figure, 40,000 live less than 100 metres from the nearest coastline.

(In case you were wondering, the furthest point from the coast in Ireland is about 80km inland and you’d be somewhere in the Athlone area.)

Census 2016 Irish Population Live Coast

Waterville, Kerry 40,000 people live less than 100 metres from the nearest coastline (Credit VisitWaterville.ie)

The latest census results have shed some interesting insight into our population, distribution and movements.

Population Density

There were 70 people per km2 in April 2016, up from 67 people per km2 in 2011. The density average in 2016 was 2,008 people per km2 in urban areas and 27 people per km2 in rural areas while in 2011 the respective figures were 1,736 and 26.


In April 2016, 44% of the State’s total urban population lived in Dublin, while 11% lived in Cork. Sligo was the county with the biggest change in the rate of urbanisation, increasing from 37% to 40% over the five years. Forty-one towns had a population of 10,000 or more, with 27 in Leinster, nine in Munster, three in Connacht and two in the three Ulster counties. 62.7% of the population lived in urban areas in April 2016.

Rural Areas

37.3% of the population lived in rural areas in April 2016. The largest rural population increase was in County Cork with 6,946 persons followed by Kildare which saw its rural population increase by 4,025 persons.

Largest and fastest growing towns

Drogheda, with a population of 40,956 (up 6.2% since April 2011) remained the largest town in Ireland. Swords (39,248) and Dundalk (39,004) complete the top three. Ennis (25,276 persons) remained the largest town in Munster. Sligo with 19,199 persons was Connacht’s largest town, while Letterkenny (19,274 persons) was the largest town in the three Ulster counties. The latter three towns experienced a slight decline in population since April 2011.

About the Author

Daniel Farrell
Interested in all things on the Irish coast and sharing the best of it. // Email: Daniel@coastmonkey.ie // Follow on Twitter: @DanielsSeaViews