eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » Ireland » Social and religious data » Religious belonging and religious demography

Religious belonging and religious demography

Religious affiliation

Persons in the area corresponding to the Republic of Ireland by Religion, 1881-2006 Year RCChurch of IrelandPresb.Method.JewOtherNoneNot statedTotal 1881 3 465 332 317 576 56 (...)

Persons in the area corresponding to the Republic of Ireland by Religion, 1881-2006

Year RCChurch of IrelandPresb.Method.JewOtherNoneNot statedTotal
1881 3 465 332 317 576 56 498 17 660 394 12 560 3 870 020
1891 3 099 003 286 804 51 469 18 513 1 506 11 399 3 468 694
1901 2 878 271 264 264 46 714 17 872 3 006 11 696 3 221 823
1911 2 812 509 249 535 45 486 16 440 3 805 11 913 3 139 688
1926 2 751 269 164 215 32 429 10 663 3 686 9 730 2 971 992
1936 2 773 920 145 030 28 067 9 649 3 749 8 005 2 968 420
1946 2 786 033 124 829 23 870 8 355 3 907 8 113 2 955 107
1961 2 673 473 104 016 18 953 6 676 3 255 5 236 1 107 5 625 2 818 341
1971 2 795 666 97 739 16 052 5 646 2 633 6 248 7 616 46 648 2 978 248
1981 3 204 476 95 366 14 255 5 790 2 127 10 843 39 572 70 976 3 443 405
1991 3 228 327 89 187 13 199 5 037 1 581 38 743 66 270 83 375 3 525 719
2002 3 462 606 115 611 20 582 10 033 1 790 89 223 138 264 79 094 3 917 203
2006 3 681 446 125 585 23 546 12 160 1 930 138 541 186 318 70 322 4 239 848

Source: Census of Population 2006, Religion, volume 13. Tableau 1.

D 21 September 2012    ARichard O’Leary

Roman Catholics

Stated belonging to a religion is still very high in Ireland, as reported in the Census of Population. Until recently in Ireland very high levels of reported belonging to a religion (...)

Stated belonging to a religion is still very high in Ireland, as reported in the Census of Population. Until recently in Ireland very high levels of reported belonging to a religion (overwhelmingly Roman Catholic) was matched by very high levels of church attendance (see Religious practice). However, a gap is opening between very high reported belonging and lower levels of church attendance. For a minority but growing number of Catholics their affiliation may be increasingly cultural rather than religious.

D 21 September 2012    ARichard O’Leary

Minority religious groups

Minority Religious groups are growing in Ireland. After a century of decline, Protestant numbers are now rising. This can largely be attributed to immigration and the underlying demographics and (...)

Minority Religious groups are growing in Ireland. After a century of decline, Protestant numbers are now rising. This can largely be attributed to immigration and the underlying demographics and the level of comment vary depending on the denomination. Immigration is also the main explanation for the increase in the small Muslim and Orthodox communities.

D 21 September 2012    ARichard O’Leary

No religion

In 2002 only 3.5% reported that they had no religion. Although this percentage is much smaller than in most other European countries, it nevertheless represents a growing trend. Almost half of (...)

In 2002 only 3.5% reported that they had no religion. Although this percentage is much smaller than in most other European countries, it nevertheless represents a growing trend. Almost half of those without a religion were aged between 20 and 39 years of age.

D 21 September 2012    ARichard O’Leary

Religious organisations and resources

As the largest religious organisation on the island of Ireland, the Catholic Church boasts the highest priest-people ratio anywhere in the world with the exception of the small states of Malta (...)

As the largest religious organisation on the island of Ireland, the Catholic Church boasts the highest priest-people ratio anywhere in the world with the exception of the small states of Malta and Lichtenstein.

Distribution of Priests Amongst Population for Selected Countries (c.2003)

RankCountryPop. (m.)Priests#Pop per Priest
1 Malta 0,38 941 407
3 Ireland 5,3 4 993 1061
4 Italy 59,3 51 295 1156
6 Poland 36,1 26 931 1339
8 Spain 41,5 26 505 1565
17 France 58,6 23 089 2537
35 USA 281,4 46 447 6059
36 Argentina 37,4 5 759 6501
78 Honduras 6,6 381 17336
103 Mozambique 18,8 530 35540
105 Cuba 11,4 297 38303

Source: Catholic hierarchy. Note: These figures are derived from annual diocesan reports published in the Annuario Pontificio.

This pattern was largely the result of the gradual expansion of the Catholic Church in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries against the backdrop of a chronically declining population, though Church expansion accelerated between the 1930s and 1960s as the Church received State support for its activities in the spheres of education, health and charity.

Organisational Expansion of Catholic Church in Ireland, 1840s to 2000

JPEG - 34.2 kb

Source: Irish Catholic Directory (1840s to 2000) Note: These figures are derived from annual diocesan reports.

After a century-long expansion and the continued generation of a surplus of clergy, the Church began to contract during the 1970s and began to suffer a major recruitment crisis during the 1990s, with many seminaries, convents and the houses of religious orders closing or being sold to cover the costs of caring for a large and aging body of clergy.

D 21 September 2012    ASeán L’Estrange

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2020 eurel - Contact