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America StaffFebruary 15, 2024
A stab crucifix hangs in an Irish church. OSV News photo/Warren MatthewsA stab crucifix hangs in an Irish church. OSV News photo/Warren Matthews

69% of residents in the Republic of Ireland described themselves as Catholics in the 2022 census—down from 79% who did so in 2016, 84% in 2011, and over 90% in the census taken in 2006.

3,515,861: The number of Irish residents in 2022 who described themselves as Catholic, down 180,783 from the previous census in 2016.

14% of Irish residents ticked the “no religion” box on the latest census form, up from 9.8% in 2011. There were also large increases in the number of Orthodox Christians (up 65% to 100,165), Muslims (up 32% to 81,930) and Hindus (up 141% to 33,043).

736,210: The number of people describing themselves as having “no religion” in the Republic of Ireland, up by 284,269 since 2016.

2,116: The total number of priests in Ireland (as of November 2022). Fifteen percent (299 priests) are over 75 and still working; 25% (547 priests) are between 60 and 75; and 22% (464 priests) are between 40 and 60. Just 52—2.5%—are under 40.

27%: Weekly Mass attendance in 2020. While still among the highest rates in Europe, it is down from 91% in 1975.

8%: The population increase of the Republic of Ireland between 2016 and 2022. The population growth was largely the result of immigration. Ireland’s overall population was above 5 million people in 2022 for the first time since the Great Famine in the mid-19th century, when over a million people died of starvation and another million emigrated.

Sources: Irish Census Bureau, Association of Irish Priests; Iona Institute

Read “The last priests and nuns in Ireland: Exploring the Irish Catholic Church’s steep decline

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