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Catholicism remains the overwhelming majority religion in Ireland, Census 2011 shows. The number of Catholics has risen by nearly 180,000 people since 2006, according to the figures.
Overall, there are now 3,861,335 Catholics in Ireland, an increase of 179,889, or 4.9 per cent since the last Census in 2006.
Among Irish nationals, Catholicism retains an even bigger percentage. Just under ninety percent of Irish nationals identify as Catholics.
The figures also showed a marked increase in those reporting no religious affiliation. According to the Census, 269,811 people, or five per cent of the total population, said they had no religion, an increase of 44.8 per cent from 2006.
The figures showed that non-nationals made up a very significant part of those identifying as non-religious. Thirty two percent of those who marked “no religion” on their Census forms were non-nationals.
The Census did not contain a space for those identifying as atheist or agnostic. Nevertheless, 3,905 people entered “atheist” on the form, while 3,521 people put down “agnostic”.
Those from the Czech Republic (53 per cent), China (72 per cent) and Spain (31 per cent) were some of the most likely to register as being of no religion.
The second biggest religious grouping was the Church of Ireland, with 129,039 identifying as such.
In total, the number of non-Catholic Christians amounted to 279,972, or six per cent.
Meanwhile, the figures revealed that 52 percent of non-nationals identified as Catholics. According to the Census, 282,799 out of 544,357 non-nationals were Catholics.
For residents from the EU, the percentage of Catholics was even higher. Sixty percent of those from other EU states identified as Catholics.
Poles and Lithuanians were amongst the largest non-Irish groups in the country, the Census found and these also showed the highest percentages of self-identifying Catholics. Ninety percent of Poles were Catholics, according to the figures, while 80 per cent of Lithuanians identified as Catholic.
The Muslim population increased by 51 per cent, going from 32,539 in 2006 to 49,204 in 2011.