One in ten Irish now have no religion – more than all minority religions combined

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 12.22.22Atheist Ireland held a successful campaign encouraging people with no religion to say so in the census. We welcome the following preliminary results from the census:

  • One in ten Irish people (468,400) have no religion. That’s a 73% rise from 2011, which is the highest rise of any category.
  • More people have no religion (468,400) than members of all minority religions combined (439,000).
  • Another 125,300 people declined to answer the religion question. That’s another 3.8%. Some of the ‘not stated’ may be religious, but certainly not all of them. So the actual figure for No Religion, whatever it is, is over 10%.
  • The number of Catholics has declined both in percentage terms (-3.4%) and in real terms (-132,000 people).
  • In Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire and Galway, more than one in three of the population is non-Catholic.

However, we believe that these figures still greatly overestimate the strength of religion, and particularly Catholicism, in Ireland.

  • They are based on a flawed census question, that asked ‘What is your religion?’ This assumes that you have a religion. Studies have shown that more people say they have a religion when asked this, than do when asked ‘Are you religious?’ or ‘Do you have a religion?’
  • Census forms are frequently filled in by a parent, who may fill in a religion for other family members who are not in fact religious.
  • The evidence of day to day life, including Church attendance, indicates that far more than one in ten Irish people are not religious.

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