Search our Archive


6,906 homeless persons on Census night

Homeless had a younger average age than the general population

6,906 homeless persons on Census night

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published the fifth thematic report of Census 2016 results - Profile 5 Homeless Persons in Ireland.

The report shows that, on the night of 24 April 2016 (Census Night), 6,906 persons were either sleeping rough or in accommodation designated for the homeless. Of these, 4,018 were male and 2,888 were female.

Profile 5 analyses the homeless population in April 2016 across a range of variables including: age, sex, marital status, economic status and nationality. It also looks at the health and disability status of the homeless compared to that of the general population.

Highlights of Profile 5 Homeless Persons in Ireland

Homeless had a younger average age than the general population

The average age of the homeless population was 31 years compared with 37 years for the general population. Of the 6,906 homeless persons counted in Census 2016, 1,846 persons were aged 0-17 years, with 1,594 being children in family units. A further 413 persons (6%) were aged 60 and over.

Higher proportion of separated/divorced among the homeless

On a marital status basis, 55% of homeless persons aged 15 and above were single, compared with 41% of the general population. While almost 48% of the general population were married/remarried, only 9% of those homeless were. The rate of separation/divorce was just above twice that of the general population – just over 12% compared to 6%. Of those enumerated on census night, 22% did not provide information on this topic.

Homeless Families

There were 896 families among the homeless population, representing 2,968 persons, and accounting for 43% of all homeless persons. There were 67 couples without children, 326 families with one child, 261 families with two children and 131 families with three children. A further 111 families had four or more children. There were 262 couples with children and 567 one-parent families. Female parents accounted for 96% of all one-parent families.

Homeless persons at work / unemployed / in study / retired

Of the 5,212 homeless persons aged 15 and over, 2,915 (56%) were in the labour force, of whom 899 (31%) were employed. A further 2,016 (69%) were either unemployed/looking for a first job. There were 607 persons who were unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability, representing 12% of the total, compared with 4.2% of the general population. Students accounted for 429 persons (8%), while 188 persons stated that they were retired.

Homeless less likely to have (upper) educational qualifications

In relation to level of education, 1,606 homeless persons (38%) did not have an educational qualification above lower secondary level compared with 27% of the general population. There were 955 people who indicated that they were educated to at least upper secondary level and 422 were educated to third level.


Among those who indicated their nationality, non-Irish nationals accounted for 14%, compared with 11.6% of the general population. As with the general population, Polish and UK nationals were the largest non-Irish groups, although UK nationals outnumbered the Polish among the homeless.

Poorer health and higher rate of disability among homeless

Just 62% of the homeless considered their health to be good/very good, compared to 87% of the general population. Conversely, 19% indicated their health was fair/bad/very bad, almost double the 9.6% of the general population.
The disability rate among the homeless was double that of the general population – 1,871 persons (27%) indicated that they had a disability, compared with 13.5% of the general population.

Homeless in Emergency Accommodation / sleeping rough

There were 2,887 persons (just under 42%) in Private Emergency Accommodation, while 2,681 were in Supported Temporary Accommodation. A further 1,144 persons were in Temporary Emergency Accommodation. In addition, 123 people were sleeping rough on Census Night. Of these, 102 were in Dublin. Males accounted for 104 (85%) of those sleeping rough.

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.