Census 2016 Results: Large Growth in No Religion, Orthodox Christianity and Hinduism in Ireland

Preliminary Results from the 2016 Census released by the Central Statistics Office last week show that Orthodox Christianity and Hinduism were the fastest growing religion in Ireland between 2011 and 2016 (Chapter 8, Religion (PDF)) Orthodox Christianity, which included Greek, Coptic, Russian and others, grew by 37.5% during the five years. In 2011 there were 44,003 Orthodox Christians, in 2016 there were a reported  60,777 adherents.

Hinduism is the second fastest with a growth rate of 34.1% between the Census’. Hinduism grew from 10,302 in 2011 to 13,729 in 2016.

Islam continued its rise in Ireland seeing the 3rd highest growth with 28.9% increase in the population here. There are now 62,032 Muslims in Ireland which is up form 48,130 in 2011.

The categories with the biggest increases were those who marked ‘No Religion’ or did not answer the question. The number of those marking ‘No Religion’ grew by 73.6% to 451,941 from 253,830 in 2011. While the number skipping the question altogether grew by 71.8% to 119,349 from 68,668. Similarly there was a large growth in numbers identifying as Atheists (from 3,751 in 2011 to 7,477 in 2016) and Agnostics (from 3,393 in 2011 to 5,006 in 2016). Lapsed (Roman) Catholics grew by 538% to 8,094 from 1,266.

While Roman Catholicism remains the largest denomination in Ireland with 78.3% of the population identifying as Roman Catholic, it is a decline from the 84.2% that was recorded in 2011. This represented a 3.5% fall in the numbers identifying as Roman Catholic from the 2011 census. Other denominations that saw a fall in numbers included the Church of Ireland (-1.5%), Presbyterian (-2.8%%) and Apostolic or Pentecostal (-4.9%). Those identifying as Christian (not specific) fell by 9.1% and Lutherans fell by 9.9%.

The population of Methodist continues to fall, but a smaller decline in this census with a 6.9% fall in members of the church. Evangelicals did experience a large growth in number from 3,972 in 2011 to 9,368 in the 2016 census and 2,565 of respondents identified as Born Again Christians.

Census 2016 also recorded that there were 9,368 Buddhists, 2,922 Spiritualists, 2,645 Pagan/Pantheists, 1,921 who profess to Judaism and 1,705 Sikhs in Ireland.

These are only a summary of the results. More information is expected from the CSO in October on religion in Ireland. More details are in the table below.

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Data Sources: Central Statistic Office of Ireland (Statbank)

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