Your questions answered

What is the census?

The census is a count, and account, of Ireland’s population on Census Night (Sunday 3 April 2022).  By law, everyone in the country on that night must be included on a census form. 

Why do we have a census?

Census data gives us vital information to help plan for homes, schools, hospitals, transport, age related services and many other services that are needed in our communities and country.  One of the great strengths of the census is that it shows the number of people living in each region, county, town and local area in Ireland, and provides detailed population figures at each level. These help to identify the demand for services both locally and nationally. 

Who carries out the census?

The census is organised by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The CSO employ a temporary field force of 5,600 people to help carry out the census at local and regional level. 

Census forms are distributed to every household and communal establishment (e.g. hotels, hospitals) by Census Enumerators, who also collect the completed census forms. All our Census Enumerators carry ID cards.  Please ask to see the ID card when they call.

Do I have to do it?

Yes. Everybody present in the country on Census Night must be included. This is the law. [The legal basis for the data collection is provided by the Statistics Act 1993, the Data Protection Act 2018, and the Statistics (Census of Population) Order, 2020.]

What do I have to do?

Your Census Enumerator will deliver your census form to your home before Census Night (Sunday 3 April). Please check their Identification Card when they call. They will be happy to answer any queries you have about the form. You should keep your form in a safe place and fill it in on Census Night. Your enumerator will return to collect your completed form between 4 April and 6 May 2022. 

View a sample copy of the household census form.

What will the enumerator ask me when they deliver my census form?

Your enumerator will check your name and contact number at the door. This is to help facilitate collection of the form after the Census has taken place, these questions are optional. They will also check if you know how many males and females will be present in your home on Census night. This is to help with the preliminary population count. In certain circumstances, for example if you will be abroad for the Census, they may ask additional specific questions.

What is the Central Statistics Office doing to protect the public and its staff against Covid-19?

Your Census Enumerator will follow all public health and safety guidelines when delivering and collecting your census form. They will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (face masks, hand sanitiser), and will maintain social distancing when calling to your home. Your enumerator will not enter your home and will only require a brief chat when delivering and collecting your form. 

Is the form available in Irish?

An Irish language version of the form is available here.

If you wish to complete your form in Irish, please ask your enumerator for the Irish language version.

Is the form available in other languages?

Yes. Your enumerator will have a translation of the form in 22 different languages. They are also available here. However, these are provided only as a guide, as your form must be completed in either English or Irish

How do you protect my data? 

We value and protect your information, and it is secure and protected by law. 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) takes all possible security measures to make sure that census information is private. In particular:

  • Your census form will be collected and processed by Officers of Statistics employed directly by the CSO. No-one else will have access to your census form.
  • Under the Statistics Act 1993, the census returns must be treated as strictly private and may be used only for statistical purposes.
  • All Census 2022 forms will be processed in the CSO’s census headquarters in Swords, Co. Dublin, where all information is stored on a closed CSO network. This network is fully owned by the CSO. The detailed census information will not be copied or removed from this network. 

Why do I have to give my name?

We need this to ensure that everyone in the household is included and to help the householder make sure the correct personal information for each person is recorded. The name also helps to identify where forms are missing or duplicated. Names may also help identify families within households. 

What to do if you are away from home on census night? 

Everyone should complete or be included on a census form wherever they sleep on Census Night, Sunday 3 April.   If you or your household are staying at a different location within Ireland on Census Night, please make sure that you complete your census form in this location.

If a member of the household is away from home on Census Night they should be included in the absent persons section at the back of the form, regardless of whether they are in the country or abroad.

If an entire household is abroad on Census Night, they will not complete a census form but the enumerator will take a few details on the doorstep when they call.

If you are in a hotel, guesthouse, hospital, or other communal establishment on Census Night, please ensure that you have been provided with a census form and complete it there.

If you are working shift work on Census Night, Sunday, 3 April, please complete your census form when you return home the next morning.

Is it possible to fill out the census form online? 

Not for this census. However, the CSO is actively working to provide an internet option for the next census.  

When will my completed census form be collected?

Your enumerator will return to collect your completed census form between 4 April and 6 May. If your form has not yet been collected by 6 May 2022 please return it fully completed in a large envelope to 

Central Statistics Office
PO Box 2021
Freepost 4726
Swords, Co. Dublin
K67 D2X4

If I post back my form, will my enumerator still get to see it?

No. Forms returned by post will come directly to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Swords, Co. Dublin.

What happens to my completed census form?

Your enumerator collects your completed census form and it is returned securely to the census headquarters in Swords, Co. Dublin. Over the following months every form is scanned and the data captured. This is then analysed and published as grouped anonymous data in the form of statistics. Once all the forms have been scanned and the data analysed, they are placed in secure storage for 100 years, when they will be made available to the public. For more details visit the How the census is done page.

Are there new questions on the census form?

Yes. The new questions are on renewable energy sources, internet access and devices, smoke alarms, smoking, working from home, volunteering, childcare and travelling home from work, school or college.

Are there questions on gender identity or sexual orientation on the census form?

There are no questions on gender identity or sexual orientation in this census.  However, work on testing questions on these topics is taking place in smaller CSO surveys such as the Labour force survey and Pulse Surveys to find the best question formats that capture meaningful data.  The lessons learned will be used to formulate the new questions on these topics in the next census.

Where can I get help?

If you need help with your form, have issues with your eyesight, or difficulties with reading, please visit our accessibility aids page for help.

How can I contact you if I have a query?

You can also telephone us at 0818 2022 04 or email us at census2022@cso.ie. Visit our contact page for more options.