Why Do It?

Benefits of the Census

The census is one of the most important undertakings in the country. It is important for you, your family, your parents and children, your local community, your county, your region and for your country.

The Census is a unique event – it tells us who we are! It is the one occasion, once every five years, when each and every one of us gets the opportunity to make our mark by putting on record who we are, where we are, what we do, what we have to offer and what our current situation is. Everyone gets this opportunity – not just those entitled to vote but everyone in Ireland on census night. It doesn’t matter if you are 1 hour old or 100 years old, it doesn’t matter if you were born in Sligo or Shanghai, you are part of Irish society now and you matter.

Why is the Census important?

The Census will give a comprehensive picture of the social and living conditions of our people in 2016. Only a census can provide such complete detail right down to the smallest area and the results are an essential tool for effective policy, planning and decision making purposes.

An accurate census is in everyone’s interests. It provides the knowledge so that public resources can be shared evenly across the country and to ensure that services at local level are relevant to all the people who live there.

Census figures are important to each and every community in Ireland because they provide information about the population down to the local level across a range of different criteria e.g. age, education, employment, language spoken, health, etc. This information can be used to tell at a community, regional and national level about the composition of the population and to identify the needs and requirements of each group in planning for the provision of services.

And the beauty of the census information is that everyone can use it – it’s free, it’s easy to access and it’s extremely useful.

Ireland’s Democracy, History and its place in Global Society.

The Census is fundamental to our way of life because it records who we are as a nation, our history and culture. It provides the knowledge that informs how we govern ourselves. It arms us with the knowledge to help us to assert ourselves in the global community and determine how we interact with the rest of the world.


Ireland has been conducting Censuses of Population since 1821. This enables us to track developments over a long period with considerable accuracy. The census is therefore a fundamental part of our national heritage and collective knowledge. There has been enormous interest in 1901 and 1911 census data since its publication.  It is nice to think that in more than 100 years time future generations, our grandchildren and great grandchildren, will be able to look back and find us and get to know who we were in 2016. 


Accurate data reflecting changes in our community is important in determining how seats in the Dáil are allocated. Article 16.2 of the Constitution (Bunreacht na hÉireann) lays down that the total membership of Dáil Éireann depends on the population as measured by the census (i.e. 1 TD per 20,000 to 30,000 persons). Constituency reviews normally take place once the definitive results of the census have been published.