Case Studies

Some Practical Uses of Census Information

Have you ever wondered what the census information is used for?

On this page we show some examples of how the census data is used by a selection of different groups in business and in our communities. These are just a small selection of real cases where the census has been used to change the lives of people in our communities.

The census information used by all of these groups and organisations is readily available from the range of census published data which can be accessed on line at Statistics are available across the complete range of census data collected, for a range of geographical areas from province to county to District Electoral Division right down to small area level.  Data is available in the format of published reports and releases and in interactive tables which can be downloaded to MS Excel for further analysis.

CSO would like to extend its appreciation to each of the following groups and organisations for their assistance in providing the information on the following pages:

Blanchardstown Area Partnership
The Healthy and Positive Aging Initiative
The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration
Family Carers Ireland
The National Transport Authority

Blanchardstown Area Partnership (BAP)

‘I use census data extensively both in my own work and in helping other bodies and organisations’ – Conor Ryan, Research and Evaluation Officer



Blanchardstown Area Partnership (BAP) is one of 40 Local Development Companies operating throughout Ireland.  We are responsible for identifying and responding to local needs through consultation and by working with community groups. We work with all communities and individuals that need support to improve their circumstances through access to employment, training and community development services. We regularly use and rely on census data in the development of our 3-year strategic plans, in support of funding applications and in research papers. We also provide census data to other bodies to help inform their research and reporting requirements and have participated in interagency research drawing on census data.

One of the projects for which we used census data was the submission for funding for a new Community Training Centre in Blanchardstown. The training centre was established in Coolmine Industrial Estate and now provides vocational preparation and life skills training to meet the needs of early school leavers and local young people, supporting them to reach their full potential and helping them progress into employment, further education or training.

Please refer to the reports and publications section of our website for more details:

The Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI)

‘Census data allows us to track and monitor progress in positive ageing’

The Healthy and Positive Ageing Initiative (HaPAI) aims to monitor and evaluate progress in positive ageing in Ireland. Data from the census allows us to answer questions like – is the physical health of our older population getting better or worse? Has there been progress in the quality of older people’s houses? How many older people live alone? Answers to these questions can help policy makers and service providers identify where progress is being made, and where the biggest challenges are. This in turn can help them to develop policies which can make Ireland a better place for everyone to grow old in.

More information about our initiative is available on our website


Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration

‘Census data can show us where things are going well and also where more needs to be done to promote social inclusion, equality and diversity.’ Anne O’Gorman, Principal Officer.



People from many different countries are making their home here in Ireland and the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration is responsible for developing and co-ordinating migrant integration policy across Government Departments and service. The comprehensive information in the census on the population, Irish and non-Irish, Ireland-born and foreign-born makes it a key resource for informing the development of policy and monitoring the effectiveness of that policy.

The Census data that we use relating to the many different nationalities in Ireland includes (but is not confined to): –

  • their demographic distribution in the country as a whole and in geographical areas, large and small;
  • their age and gender profile;
  • their educational level and measure of English language attainment;
  • their socio-economic situation (e.g. housing and employment).

This data can show us where things are going well and also where more needs to be done to promote social inclusion, equality and diversity. This aims to ensure that newcomers to our country are supported in fully realising their participation in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities.

African nationals living in Dublin – total population 19,699


Family Carers Ireland

‘Census data have been extremely important in estimating the economic contribution of family carers to Irish society’ – Catherine Cox, Head of Communications,Family Carers Ireland


Census data have been invaluable in building a more detailed profile of family carers and the issues confronting them in Irish society. The information provided helps to shape decisions regarding policy and advocacy in Family Carers Ireland, and can help us not only to refine national goals but also to determine different priority issues in different parts of the country. The census data have been extremely important in estimating the economic contribution of family carers to Irish society, and Question 22 in Census 2011 has been particularly helpful in encouraging people to self-identify as family carers, and by doing so accessing vital information and supports through Family Carers Ireland and other relevant agencies.  We particularly welcomed two changes in Census 2011, which asked family carers to identify the number of hours of care provided weekly and also identified the number of young carers in Ireland under the age of 15 (over 4,200).  These figures have helped us to lobby for greater recognition and support for young carers, and have resulted in the creation of a Young Carers Development Officer role.

Further breakdown of census statistics by townland or electoral division facilitates mapping the rise in those identifying as family carers with growth in elderly populations or incidence of diagnosed disability. It also provides an age profile of carers, and can help build correlations between caring and access to basic advantages such as private transport or internet service. Such information helps us to identify areas in which carers are particularly disadvantaged and to appreciate different challenges they face, for example depending on an urban or rural base.

National Transport Authority

The re-routing of the Bus Éireann 360a to serve Waterford IT and the Waterford Industrial Estate was a direct result of analysis based on the census data.

Bus Licence Applications & New Transport route appraisals


The NTA has a national remit to provide sub-vented Bus and Rail services through Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail and private bus operators.

The Authority also issues licenses for private bus operations.  The Census data is used to appraise any new private licence application by enabling in the first instance an analysis of the population living within the catchment of the proposed route and hence estimating the likely demand for the proposed new service. Following this, the census place of work and school data can be used to undertake an analysis of trip patterns on existing bus routes in the same area and in this way, make a judgement as to whether or not there is sufficient new demand to justify the new route / service being introduced.  The re-routing of the Bus Éireann 360a to serve Waterford IT and the Waterford Industrial Estate was a direct result of analysis based on the census data. 

Integrated Land Use & Transport Planning


As part of its remit, the National Transport Authority has recently completed an Integrated Land Use & Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area for 2035.  The process of producing this strategy included an analysis of recent trends in population, employment and people’s travel behaviour (i.e. their travel patterns, journey times and mode and time of travel). The 2006 and 2011 census place of work data in particular provided a detailed, accurate and comprehensive picture of the location of employment – broken down by employment type and related to details of people’s journey to work.  This enabled the NTA to get a much clearer picture of the distribution of employment across the region and to detect (contrary to expectations) that employment is widely spread across the full GDA. This greatly assisted the Authority in understanding the significant challenges in meeting the travel needs of GDA commuters – and in particular of providing a Public Transport alternative to the car for trips to work.

The 2011 census data also provided (for the first time) comprehensive data on the locations of all places of education, and on people’s daily trip to school or college.  As trips to work and education make up over 80% of all trips in the morning peak period, these two datasets give the most comprehensive and accurate picture of travel behaviour during the period of highest demand on the transport networks.