Who uses Census data?

Census information is used by a wide variety of government departments and agencies, regional and local authorities, non-Governmental organisations, academics, researchers, students, businesses and local groups for a wide variety of purposes, for example:

Central and Local Government

At national level census information is used to plan the provision of health care, education, employment, transport, etc. It is used to help determine where to build new schools, roads, health care facilities, child-care and senior centre.

The Census is also an important economic tool. In particular, it is the only means of accurately measuring the exact extent of migration. By comparing the results of successive censuses, and taking account of the number of births and deaths that have occurred over the same period, we get an accurate measure of net migration (the difference between inward and outward migration).

One of the greatest strengths of the census is the provision of detailed population figures at local level. It counts the number of people in each region, county, town and local area and this helps local authorities to make better decisions about the whole range of their activities including the provision of utilities, transport, healthcare requirements and education facilities.

It counts the numbers of people living in each city, town and rural area. It tells us something about each local area and its population, including general health, what jobs they do, what education they have and the type of housing they live in. Knowing how many people work in different jobs and industries in particular areas provides the information required on skill shortages and training needs so that jobs for the future can be planned.

It provides information about travel to work which is used to improve public transport and relieve traffic congestion. Information on general health will help predict the GP and other health services needed in your community in the future. Similarly, information on the amount of home carers will help to assess the contribution and needs of carers in society and to provide better supports.

Interest and representative groups

Census data is extensively used by interest and representative groups who have power to influence the authorities in campaigning for the interests of those whom they represent. The use of Census data in the reports and submissions of these groups is a convincing and powerful tool in influencing political and social leaders.


Census numbers can help bring new businesses to your community. When a company is looking for new locations in which to set up operations and conduct business, one of the first things they consider is people. Who lives in the area? Are there sufficient educated and skilled people to work for them?  The Census provides this information.

Businesses who want to know who their customers are can look to the census to ask “Who are our customers?” “Who might be potential customers?” “Who needs our services and where are they?” “Which would be the best place to set up a new shopping centre, a sporting facility or a kid’s play centre?”

If you are in business Census information is also available to you. It is free and easy to use so that you too can make better business decisions.

Local communities

The results of the census will directly affect people in your community. The information we gather will be used to plan a wide range of public services, many provided by local authorities, which should be there for everyone to use. These include:

  • Schools: for children growing up now and in the future
  • Social housing: for families who need an affordable place to live
  • Transport: to and from work, and for going out and about in the area
  • Healthcare: facilities that everyone can access easily
  • Training: for people who want to learn new skills.

The more we know about the people in your community, the better local authorities can understand and meet their needs.
And it’s not just the local authorities who can use this information. There are many uses of Census data for people in the local community. For example local voluntary organisations can use the Census to help determine the requirements for services in local areas – it can also help estimate the number of potential volunteers in the community. It can be used to plan services for people who do not speak English, for people who need to be cared for or for planning education requirements.

Ethnic groups

Ethnic groups make up an increasingly important part of the Irish population, each expressing a range of different needs.
The census provides information which can be used to identify community initiatives and programs which are important to immigrants – including education, English-language programs and enhanced legal services.

The Media

Census data is also used by the media in researching news stories, feature articles and documentaries. By participating in the census you can ensure that you are included in this data and that you can contribute to the knowledge which informs these reports.


The Census is an important source of information for students. The use of Census data is an important component of our children’s education and features across a surprising number of aspects of the curriculum including maths, history, geography and CSPE (Civil, Social and Political Education) at primary and 2nd level. It is also, of course, an important source of information for 3rd level students, researchers and academics across a broad range of economic and social disciplines. Schools Page