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The data relating to carers from the 2016 Irish Census have been published. They showed that 195,263 people identified themselves as carers. This was up from 187,112 in Census 2011 – a smaller than anticipated increase, representing 4.1 % of the total population. It was notable that the increase was fairly evenly spread between males and females. The Central Statistics Office’s highlights and full report is accessible here.

It had long been signalled that 2016 would be a ‘no-change’ census; but submissions have been invited for proposed additions or changes to Census 2021. Family Carers Ireland has argued in the past that the wording of the relevant Question 22 on the Census form is very likely resulting in carers not self-identifying, and is not capturing the prevalence of caring in Ireland. 

FCI’s submission has suggested the language of the question be made consistent with that used in the UK Census and in the Irish Health Survey (whose data suggest a far higher number of carers), recommending that the wording of question 22 be changed to:

Q22. Do you look after, or give any help or support to family members, friends, neighbours or others (adults or children) because of either:
  • A long-term illness, physical or intellectual disability or mental ill-health
  • Problems related to old age
Do not include anything you do as part of your paid employment.
If Yes, for approximately how many hours of care do you provide each week? (Please note care provided on a 24-hour basis, 7 days a week equates to 168 hours).
___________ hours per week