27 Jun 2022

89.3% of Leitrim’s population live in rural areas

Carrick-on-Shannon is the fastest growing town (%)

89.3% of Leitrim’s population live in rural areas

Population, Distribution and Movements

The Central Statistics Office has today published the second in the series of eleven thematic reports from Census 2016 – Profile 2: Population Distribution and Movements which sheds further light on how the population has changed over the past five years. Here's a look at Co Leitrim, followed by a national overview.

Urban and rural share of population

Of a total population of 32,044 in Leitrim in April 2016, 10.7% (3,422 persons) lived in urban areas, with 89.3% (28,622 persons) living in rural areas.

Nationally, 62.7% lived in urban areas and 37.3% in rural areas.

Largest and fastest growing towns

Carrick-on-Shannon, with 3,422 persons, was the largest town in the county. It was also the fastest growing town in percentage terms, experiencing 3.3% population growth between 2011 and 2016.

Nationally, Drogheda remained the largest town, with 40,956 residents, while Saggart was the fastest growing town, seeing its population increase by 46.1% between 2011 and 2016.

On the move

Of the 1,447 usual Leitrim residents who moved in the year to April 2016, most (809) moved elsewhere within the county.

Only 88 of the 675 Leitrim households who moved in the year preceding the census bought their new home with a mortgage or loan, while 453 rented their accommodation.

Nationally, 263,551 usual residents moved in the year to April 2016.



In April 2016, 44% of the State’s total urban population lived in Dublin while 11% lived in Cork. Sligo was the county with the biggest change in the rate of urbanisation, increasing from 37% to 40% over the five years.
Forty-one towns had a population of 10,000 or more, with 27 in Leinster, nine in Munster, three in Connacht and two in the three Ulster counties. 62.7% of the population lived in urban areas in April 2016.

Rural Areas

37.3% of the population lived in rural areas in April 2016. The largest rural population increase was in County Cork with 6,946 persons followed by Kildare which saw its rural population increase by 4,025 persons.

Largest and fastest growing towns

Drogheda, with a population of 40,956 (up 6.2% since April 2011) remained the largest town in Ireland.
Swords (39,248) and Dundalk (39,004) complete the top three. Ennis (25,276 persons) remained the largest town in Munster. Sligo with 19,199 persons was Connacht’s largest town, while Letterkenny (19,274 persons) was the largest town in the three Ulster counties. The latter three towns experienced a slight decline in population since April 2011.

Population Density

There were 70 people per km2 in April 2016, up from 67 people per km2 in 2011. The density average in 2016 was 2,008 people per km2 in urban areas and 27 people per km2 in rural areas while in 2011 the respective figures were 1,736 and 26.

Coastal Living

1.9 million people, or 40% of the population, were residing within 5km of the coast. Of this figure, 40,000 lived less than 100 metres from the nearest coastline.

County of birth and county of residence

65.1% of Meath’s population were born outside the county, the highest proportion in the country. Cork city and county, at 25.5%, had the lowest proportion of residents born outside the county. Just 13% of those born in Donegal were usually resident in another county.

Internal migration declines

263,551 usual residents (aged one year and over) moved in the year up to April 2016, down 3.5% on the 2011 figure of 273,239. Of these, 94,182 moved in Dublin, with 18,716 moving out of the county.
The top destinations were Kildare, Meath and Wicklow. The number of households moving in the year up to April 2016 fell by 4% to 110,204.

Age profile of movers

The most mobile cohort of the population was those aged 20 to 34, accounting for 45.7% of all movers. 28 was the peak age for moving in the year up to 2016 compared with 25 in 2011. The numbers dropped considerably for those aged 40 and over who made up only 21.6% of the movers.

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