Demographics of the Republic of Ireland
The Irish people are mainly of indigenous and Celtic origin, with the country's only significant minorities having descended from the Vikings and Anglo-Normans. Some are also of English, Scottish, and Welsh descent.
For centuries a nation of emigrants, Ireland from the 1990s has attracted immigrants from a number of nations both within Europe and elsewhere.
The official languages are Irish (Gaeilge) and English. However, English is the predominant language used today. People living in Irish-speaking communities are limited to the low hundreds of thousands in isolated pockets largely on the Western seaboard and in Dublin and other urban areas. All schoolchildren are taught the Irish language as a compulsory part of the school curriculum with a relatively small (though growing) number of schools teaching all subjects in Irish. Public signs are usually bilingual and there are both a national Irish language TV (TG4) and radio channel (Raidió na Gaeltachta).
The Republic of Ireland is officially 92% Roman Catholic. However there has been a massive decline in adherence to Roman Catholicism among Irish Catholics. Between 1996 and 2001, regular Mass attendance, already previously in decline, declined from 60% to 48%. (It had been 90%+ in 1973.)
All but two of its priest-training seminaries have either closed or are expected to close soon. The Roman Catholic Church was hit in the 1990s by a series of sexual scandals, including the resignation of one bishop who had fathered a child by a divorced cousin and the notorious case of child sexual abuser Fr. Brendan Smyth. In recent years, another bishop has been forced to resign over his incompetent handling of paedophile priests in his diocese.
The second largest religion, the Church of Ireland (Anglican), with a largely elderly membership, had until recently been in decline. It had been forced to close down many of its rural churches, and even some in urban areas. However, recent immigration of thousands of African Anglicans has buoyed the Church's following. A similar phenomenon is also affecting the very small Jewish community in Ireland, which is ageing and sees many of its younger adherents emigrating to Israel. The religions showing major growth are Islam (See Islam in Ireland) and small born-again Christian faiths associated with Ireland's growing immigrant communities.
Population: 3,969,558 (July 2004 est.)
0-14 years: 21% (male 430,905; female 404,218)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 1,342,233; female 1,337,580)
65 years and over: 11.5% (male 199,379; female 255,243) (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.16% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 14.47 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 7.91 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.5 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 77.36 years
male: 74.74 years
female: 80.15 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.87 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 2,400 (2001 est.)
noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
Major Ethnic groups: Celtic, English
Languages: English is the more commonly used language, Irish (Gaelic) is spoken mainly in Gaeltacht areas located along the western seaboard and in Dublin and other urban areas (with 340,000 in 2001 census claiming daily usage)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98% (1981 est.)