06 Jul 2022

Census shows Laois population surge beyond 90,000 with very high natural increase

55% increase in 20 years

Laois County Coucil local election map.

The population of Laois has continued to rise rapidly with the number of people living in the count now over 90,000 with a 30,000 increase in the past 20 years, the first results of Census 2022 reveal.

Preliminary results published by Ireland's Central Statistics Office show that the population of the county was 91,657 on Census night Sunday, April 3 this year.

That marks a rise of 8.2% or nearly 7,000 when the population of the county and Ireland was last measured in 2016.  

The rise in Laois is above the national average of 7.6%. The Laois population is also rising faster than neighbouring counties of Kilkenny, Offaly, Tipperary. The growth rate is marginally behind Kildare and Carlow.

This was made up of a natural increase (ie births minus deaths) of 3,658 and an estimated net inward migration (ie population change minus natural increase) of 3,302. The natural increase for Laois is is the joint third highest rate in Ireland - with an average natural increase of 7 persons per 1,000 of population per year.

Despite the increase in population, the growth in housing stock lags behind. There was a 5.8% increase in housing stock while the vacancy rate was 7.6%.

The latest rise is also faster than the rate of increase between the 2011 and 2016 Census when the population of Laois rose by 5.1%. 

The new population figures also confirms a phenomenal population growth in Laois since the start of the 21st century. The number of people living in Laois has rising by an astonishing 55% since 2002 when the population was  58,774.


In Leinster, 10 of the 12 counties showed a higher percentage increase than the national average, with Offaly and Kilkenny decreasing.

Population growth is centred mainly around the big towns with Portlaoise dominating the numbers. There are a total of 25,771 people living in and around the county town.

There are 7,856 people on the Offaly side of Portarlington but this number rises to 10,424 when the Offaly side of the town is added.

There are 3,147 people living in the Mountmellick urban area. However, the number rises to nearly 7,500 when surrounding rural areas are added.

Graiguecullen on the Carlow border has grown to 5,323. A further 1,665 people live in a part of Graiguecullen managed by Carlow County Council.

The total housing stock in Laois in April 2022 was 34,686. This shows an increase of 1,892 (+5.8%) since 2016. There were 2,650 vacant dwellings, which was 357 fewer than in 2016 (-11.9%). This does not include holiday homes, of which there were 195.


The national results from Census 2022 show that Ireland has the highest population figure since 1841. MORE BELOW GRAPHIC.

The population of Ireland is now 5.1 million an increase of 7.6% from Census 2016

Commenting on the figures, Cormac Halpin, Senior Statistician in the Census Division, said the Preliminary Results show a population of 5,123,536 on Census night.

"There were 2,593,600 females and 2,529,936 males recorded, which is an increase of 7.7% and 7.5% respectively. The population increase of 361,671 was made up of a natural increase (births minus deaths) of 171,338 and estimated net inward migration (population change minus natural increase) of 190,333.

He highlighted Leinster.

"The counties recording the highest population growth were in Leinster. Longford grew by more than 14%, with Meath, Kildare, and Fingal, also growing strongly. In contrast to Census 2016, when three counties (Mayo, Sligo, and Donegal) had a fall in their population, the Preliminary Results show that the population of every county has increased since 2016.

"In Leinster, 10 of the 12 counties showed a higher percentage increase than the national average, with Offaly (+6.0%), and Kilkenny (+4.5%), being lower. In Munster, Waterford (+9.4%) had a higher percentage increase than that of the State overall. Both Leitrim (+9.5%) and Roscommon (+8.4%) showed a higher percentage increase than the national rate, while Cavan, Donegal, or Monaghan did not,” he said.

The population figures includes those who do not usually live in the State but were in the State on Census night. It excludes those who do usually live in the State but who were temporarily absent outside of the State on Census night.

People who were present in the State were enumerated and are reported at the location where they spent Census night. This may not have been the location where they usually live.

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