Fewer Catholics as 5,000 more tick 'no religion' in Wexford
THE number of Catholics in County Wexford dropped by 2,312 between 2011 and 2016, latest census figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reveal.
In the same period, the number of people in the Model County declaring 'no religion' increased by almost 5,000, from 6,204 on the day of the 2011 census, or 4.3% of Wexford's population, to 11,156 in 2016, 7.5% of the county's population.
Those with no religion represent the next largest group after Catholics who, in April 2016, accounted for 83.8% of Wexford's population.
The average age of those declaring 'no religion' was 36 years, making them 2.1 years younger on average than the county's population overall. The average age of Catholics was 38.2.
125,530 people in Wexford ticked 'Catholic' on their census form in 2016, compared to 127,842 five years before.
The 5,451 Church of Ireland members in the county made up 3.6% of its total population. On average, Church of Ireland members in Wexford were 5.4 years older (43.6 years) than the overall population in the county.
Orthodox (1,039) and Muslims (696) completed the top five.
In the most recent eighth Census 2016 CSO release, dealing with Irish Travellers, ethnicity and religion, it was also revealed that there were 1,508 members of the Irish Traveller community in Co Wexford last year, a very slight drop of 2 on the number in 2011.
The 804 female and 704 male Travellers make up just one per cent of the county's population. More than 4 in 10 (43.8%) of all Travellers in the county are aged under 20, compared to just under 3 in 10 (28.8%) of the county's overall population.
Breaking down the figures for ethnicity, 129,451 people in County Wexford indicated a 'White Irish' ethnic or cultural background, representing 87.2% of the population, and an increase of 2,134 on 2011.
The next largest grouping, 'Any Other White background', accounted for 12,228 people (8.2%), an increase of 142.
419 (0.3% of Wexford's population), ticked 'Black or Black Irish (African/any other Black background)', while 1,044 (0.7%) indicated an 'Asian or Asian Irish (Chinese/any other Asian background)'.
A further 1,453 (1.0%) stated they were of 'Other, including mixed background' while 2,428 (1.6%) did not state their ethnic/cultural background.
Nationally, the number of Irish Travellers stood at 30,987, representing 0.7% of Ireland's general population in April 2016. Catholics comprised 78.3% of the population, down from 84.2% in 2011, while the number of people with no religion (including atheists and agnostics) increased by 73.6% to stand at 481,388 in 2016.