The Central Statistics Office is launching Census 2011 today and the forms are being sent out today. The last census took place five years ago, in 2006.
Roughly 5000 staff working for the CSO will deliver the forms to 1.8 million homes in the country over the next few weeks. The Census is to take place on April 10.
It will provide significant insight into many facets of Irish life, not least the state of family life in Ireland.
The last Census showed a significant increase in the number of children raised outside marriage and in the rate of marital breakdown.
The 2006 Census showed that the number of divorced people skyrocketed by almost 70 per cent since the 2002 Census. It showed that there were 59,534 divorced people in Ireland, compared 35,059 in 2002, an increase of 69.2 per cent.
Apart from the increase in divorce, other figures from the Census showed that marriage in Ireland is under pressure. The combined number of separated, divorced and remarried people jumped from 155,239 in 2002 to 198,594 in 2006, an increase of almost 30 per cent.
In addition, the Census showed that the number of co-habiting couples increased from 77,616, the figure for the 2002 Census, to 121,759 in 2006, an increase of 56.8 per cent. The figures also show that there was a 22 per cent increase in lone parent families. There are now 189,313 single parent families in Ireland, up from 153,863 in 2002.
The number of people cohabiting rose from 77,616 in 2002 to 121,763 in 2006, an increase of 56 per cent.
The figures also showed that the number of children living in non-marital family units was 26 per cent, up from 22 per cent in 2002. The comparable American figure is 30 per cent.
The number of children born outside wedlock jumped from 18,815, or 31.1 per cent of all children born in 2002 to 21,295, which represented 33.1 per cent of the total number of children born in 2006.
The figures from this year's Census are set to be published in 2012.