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Limerick's Demographic Shifts: Census Highlights Growth and Changes |

Limerick’s Demographic Shifts: Census Highlights Growth and Changes

In a comprehensive analysis of the latest census data, Limerick City stands out with a population increase of 367 since the 1901 census, reaching a current count of 38,518. Meanwhile, the broader Limerick County has experienced a decrease of 3,305, marking a 3.1% decline. The combined population of the city and county now stands at 143,067, reflecting a 2.1% decrease compared to the 1901 figures.

Examining the rural districts within the county, a consistent decrease in population is evident across the board. From a marginal 0.1% decline in Limerick rural district to a substantial 6.6% decrease in Croom, the trend is clear. Abbeyfeale district reports a striking 7.4% reduction, and Milchelstown experiences the most significant drop at 8.3%.

While Limerick City defies the overall declining trend with a 1% population increase, some wards within the city show a contrasting picture. The Castle, Dock, Irishtown, and Shannon Wards exhibit a decrease in population, along with a decline in the number of houses in Glentworth, Irishtown, Market, and Shannon.

Marriage rates in Limerick City and County average 5.2 per 1,000 per annum, slightly higher than the national average of 5.1. Birth rates average 23.6 per 1,000, compared to the national rate of 23.1, and the death rate stands at 17.4 per 1,000, just slightly above the national figure of 17.3.

Religiously, Catholics make up 90.4% of Limerick City’s population, with Protestant Episcopalians constituting 6%. In the county, Catholics comprise an overwhelming 97.1%, while Protestant Episcopalians represent 2.4% of the population.

Education plays a significant role in Limerick’s demographic profile, with 90.3% of the population able to both read and write. However, 7.1% of the population is reported as “illiterate,” representing a 15% decrease from the previous census.

Gaelic speakers in Limerick number 13,533, comprising 94% of the population. In Limerick City alone, there were 2,612 Gaelic speakers, an increase of 45 under the age of ten. The county saw a rise of 3,925 Gaelic speakers under 18, totalling 4,672. Nevertheless, there is an overall decrease in Gaelic speakers from 14,060 in 1901 to 13,533 in the current census. Surprisingly, there is one Gaelic speaker in Limerick who does not know English, a woman in Newcastle over sixty years of age.

The data also reveals a shifting migration pattern. Emigrants from Limerick City and County in the decade ending in 1911 numbered 11,278, a decrease from 14,426 in 1901. Over the past sixty years, the total number of emigrants reached 189,129, surpassing the present population by 35%.

In conclusion, Limerick’s census data offers a multifaceted view of demographic changes, with population shifts, linguistic variations, and migration patterns painting a dynamic picture of this Irish city and county.

Freeman’s Journal – Wednesday 22 May 1912

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