Census of Population Local and National (19th C. & 2002)  

Paper 234

Lecture – 2003

Author – Harte, John

The 2002 Census was a year later than planned. It should have been in 2001; but was postponed due to the spread of Foot and Mouth epidemic. Results showed that the population of the Republic of Ireland had recovered to a level last seen in the 26 Counties in 1871. Fingal County had continued to grow at a very fast rate (17% in 6 years) while Dublin City gained less than 3%. Locally the Skerries Electoral Division gained 18%. Mr. Harte estimated that it would have been about 8,900 in 2002 compared to 7,300 in 1996.

The history of the census goes back almost 4,000 years. The Sumerians (modern Iraq) recorded the results in cuneiform writing. The Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a world census and each person went to his own town to be registered (St. Luke Gospel). The British Government ordered a census to be held every 10th year from 1821 to 1911. The results showed a sharp rise in population to the 1840’s followed by a dramatic decline in the famine years and a steady decline thereafter. The population of Holmpatrick declined from 140 to 40 between 1841 and 1851, whereas Milverton increased from under 70 to over 100 in the same period. The census reports provide a starting point for further local research.

The only 2 censuses fully available are 1901 and 1911. For all the 19th Century censuses, only statistical reports remain. The actual returns were destroyed either by British Government order or by explosion and fire at the Four Courts in Dublin during the Civil War. This paper makes interesting reading for researchers.

Theme : Social History