Your census form explained
This section of the website looks at your census form in detail. The explanations underneath each question below outline why the question is asked and set out some of the ways the information is used. You can see the full range of 2016 census results here.
Advice on how to answer the question is also provided. Your enumerator can help answer any questions about your form. You can also visit our help pages here.
A Step-by-Step Guide to filling in your census form is available to view or download.
Household Question 1 – When was your house, flat or apartment first built?
Your answer to this question will help us to put together a detailed picture of the age of our homes. This will help to better understand housing provision and needs in each area and in Ireland overall. The question refers to when the dwelling was first ready for occupation, not the date of the start of construction or any subsequent renovations.
Household Question 2 – Does your household own or rent your accommodation?
If you rent your accommodation (box 3) or live in it rent free (box 4), you should also answer the second part of the question ‘who is your landlord?’. When selecting your landlord, tenants of a ‘Private landlord’ or a ‘Local Authority’ should mark box 1 or 2 respectively, while tenants of a housing association should indicate ‘Voluntary/Co-operative housing body’ by marking box 3. This is regardless of whether or not you pay all or part of the rent yourself, or if it is paid on your behalf by the government or any other organisation.
To understand how peoples’ housing needs are being met, and what supports might be needed, we need to be able to track changes and trends in the numbers of people owning or renting their homes.
Household Question 3 – If your accommodation is rented, how much rent does your household pay?
If you rent your accommodation you must answer this question and fill out, in euros, the amount you pay in rent. You should mark in the box how often you pay your rent – weekly, monthly or yearly.
If the government or any other organisation pays part of the rent, only the amount paid by your household should be entered. Enter the amount to the nearest euro.
For example if the household pays a weekly rent of €78.60 enter 79 and mark box 1. If all of the rent is paid by the government or any other organisation then enter 0 and mark box 1.
Rented accommodation is an important part of our housing mix. Your answer here will help us to provide a clear picture of rental costs and from this, the availability and affordability of rented accommodation, which is a key social and economic issue.
Household Question 4 – How many working smoke alarms are in your accommodation?
Please write in the total number of smoke alarms within your accommodation, including those in hallways and landings. If you live in an apartment, do not include smoke alarms installed in communal landings outside your apartment.
If you do not have any smoke alarms, mark ‘None’.
Having working smoke alarms is very important for fire safety in our homes. This information will help to develop and deliver plans to increase fire safety awareness.
Household Question 5 – How many rooms do you have for use only by your household?
A kitchenette (a kitchen of less than four square metres or two metres wide), corridors, verandas, utility rooms, boiler rooms, laundry rooms and halls do not count as rooms for the purposes of this question; nor do bathrooms and toilets (even if they are more than four square metres).
Commercial office spaces should not be included but home offices and studies should be included in the total room count. An office is used by a business whereas a study (or home office) is for personal use.
Count an open plan kitchen, dining and living area as one room.
Your answer to this question will help identify the number of people and rooms in each dwelling. This will give important insights into possible overcrowding in our homes.
Household Question 6 – What is the main type of fuel used by the central heating in your accommodation?
If you use more than one type of fuel, mark the one you use the most. If you use solar or geothermal sources, for example, mark box 9 ‘Other’.
Energy use in our homes is a significant part of Ireland’s overall energy use. The results of this question will provide information on the fuel types which are used in our homes. This is useful information for our national energy and climate change goals.
Household Question 7 – Does your accommodation use any of the following renewable energy sources?
Renewable energy sources are an increasingly important part of how we provide heating and electricity in our homes.
Household Question 8 – What type of piped water supply does your accommodation have?
Your answer to this question will help provide a picture of the availability and use of essential water supply services. Together with your answer to Question 9, this is important information for service planning and delivery in housing and environmental services.
Household Question 9 – What type of sewerage facility does your accommodation have?
Together with your answer to Question 8, your answer here will help to understand the provision of, and needs for, these essential water and sanitation services.
Household Question 10 – How many cars or vans are owned or are available for use by one or more members of your household?
The answers to this question will help to provide a detailed picture of the car/van ownership in our households. This will help to understand people’s transport options, needs, and commuting patterns.
Household Question 11 – What type of internet connection does your household have?
Access to the internet at home is now essential for many of our daily activities. This information is needed to understand the availability of, and the need for, internet services across the country.
If you are unsure which category your device(s) should be in, mark box 8 and write in the name of the device(s).
Household Question 12: Go to next page
You have now answered all the questions about your home. Go the next page to answer questions about you/your family/others in the home.
Questions about the people in your household
Question 1 – What is your name?
We ask you to give the name of everyone living in the home to ensure that everyone there on the night is included in the census, and that everyone’s correct details are recorded. Names are also used to assist in the identification of family groups within households. Individuals’ names will be kept confidential and not released until the full census forms are made available in 100 years’ time.
Question 2 – What is your sex?
Almost all information collected on the census form is analysed by age and sex. This information helps us to understand the changing roles of males and females in households, communities and workplaces.
EU legislation requires the Census to ask this question and also dictates that the only answers that can be provided are male or female. If you are uncomfortable ticking one of these options you may signal this by marking both boxes. However, for statistical analysis purposes all entries will be assigned a sex, where this is not clearly indicated on a Census form it will be assigned at random.
The CSO recognise the importance of accounting for gender identity as distinct from sex. Work is actively underway to introduce a question on gender identity for the next census. This includes testing questions in our Labour Force and Pulse surveys to ensure we ask the appropriate question and provide the appropriate range of answers.
So while there is no question on gender identity in the 2022 census, it is anticipated that it will be included in the next census.
Question 3 – What is your date of birth?
Knowing the age profile of our population helps us to understand, and respond to, the need for key services such as education, health, transport, housing and other community services.
Question 4 – What is your relationship to other persons in the household?
By identifying the family members and other people living in your home, you help us to understand trends and changes in family/household types. We can then provide results on changing social and living patterns, which helps in the planning and delivery of services.
The example below shows how the question should be answered for a child (Person 4), where the grandparents are Persons 1 and 2 and the mother is Person 3.
Relationships refer only to the first four persons in the household. For relationships not included on the list such as in-laws tick box 9 ‘Other related’.
Mark one box only for each person
|Relationship of PERSON 4 to||Persons|
|Husband or wife||1|
|Partner (incl. same-sex partner)||2|
|Son or daughter||3|
|Brother or sister||5|
|Mother or father||6|
|Unrelated (incl. foster child)||10|
Question 5 – What is your current marital status?
This question should only be answered by those aged 15 or over. Persons in same-sex marriages should tick box ‘2’ (Married). If you are cohabiting but are not married, mark box 1 ‘Single’. You should indicate your relationship to your cohabiting partner in Question 4.
Your answers to this question help to identify and understand changes and trends in the marital status of our population, for example changes in the numbers of people who are single, married, or widowed since the last census.
Question 6 – What is your place of birth?
If you were born in Ireland, you should write in the county in which your mother was living when you were born, even though you may have been born in a hospital in another county (for example, write in Kildare if your mother lived there when you were born but you were born in a hospital in Dublin).
Your answers to Questions 6 to 9 will help us to see how people move within Ireland’s towns, cities and counties, and from other countries to Ireland. This will help us to better understand and respond to population movements and changes throughout Ireland.
Question 7 – Where do you usually live?
If you have lived at the address on the front page of the census form for a continuous period of at least 12 months before Census Night or have arrived at this address in the 12-month period before Census Night with the intention of staying here for at least one year, you should mark box ‘1’ (HERE at this address).
If you usually live somewhere else in Ireland (including Northern Ireland, then mark box ‘2’ (Elsewhere in IRELAND) and write in the full address, please remember to include the Eircode.
If you usually live outside of Ireland, then tick box ‘3’ and write in the country.
The general guideline is that a person’s place of usual residence is where they spend most of their daily night’s rest. The following specific guidelines should be used:
- Persons away from home during the week who return to the family home at weekends – the family home is their place of usual residence.
- Primary and secondary students who are boarding away from home and third level students at college or university – the family home is their place of usual residence.
- If a person has spent or intends to spend 12 months or more in an institution – the institution is their place of usual residence.
- Persons who regularly live in more than one residence during the year – the place where they live for most of the year is their place of usual residence.
Your answers to this question will help to show the number of people usually resident in each townland, town, city, and county. This is vital information for local authorities and other public service providers.
Question 8 – Where did you usually live one year ago?
Note that this question is for persons aged one year and over. The guidelines in relation to Question 7 also apply to this question. If the place of usual residence one year before the census was the same as now you should mark box ‘1’ (SAME as now). If the person lived somewhere else in Ireland one year ago, they should mark box ‘2’ (Elsewhere in Ireland) and write in the COUNTY. If the person lived somewhere else outside Ireland one year ago, they should mark box ‘3’ (Elsewhere ABROAD) and write in the COUNTRY.
Your answer to this question will help to understand recent internal and external migration patterns, and what they mean for service needs.
Question 9 – Have you ever lived outside the Republic of Ireland for a continuous period of one year or more?
Do not include short stays (less than 12 months) outside of Ireland.
For the ‘YEAR of last taking up residence’ write in the year that you last moved to Ireland.
People born in Ireland who moved away and then returned to Ireland should write in the YEAR they last returned and the country in which they were last usually resident.
People born outside of Ireland should give the YEAR they moved to Ireland. People whose usual residence is outside of Ireland do not need to answer this question.
Your answers to questions 6-9 help to better understand, respond to, and plan for, patterns of movement within Ireland, and to and from the country.
Question 10 – What is your country of citizenship?
If you have more than one country of citizenship, you should declare both countries. If you have dual Irish citizenship (for example through participation in a citizenship ceremony), you should mark boxes ‘1’ and ‘2’ and write in the second country of citizenship.
If you are a citizen of two countries, neither of which are Ireland, you should mark box ‘2’ and write both countries in the text box.
See below for example.
If you are not an Irish citizen, and are not recognised as a citizen by any other country, you should mark box ‘3’ (No citizenship) only.
Information on the citizenship of the people living in Ireland will help to better understand our changing society, in relation to patterns of migration and their impacts.
Question 11 – What is your ethnic group/background?
If you do not feel that the options in boxes 1 to 10 adequately describe your ethnic group/background, you should mark box 11 or 12 in section D and write your ethnic group into the boxes provided.
Your answer to this question will help to better understand the geographical spread of various ethnic groups/backgrounds across the country and to compare them in terms of, for example, social and living conditions, employment, occupation, and education.
Question 12 – What is your religion, if any?
You should answer this question by marking the category you feel best describes your religion, if any, at the time of the census. If you do not have a religion, you have the option of ticking box 1. If you have a religion, please mark the correct box for you. If your religion is not listed, tick box ‘7’ and write it in the box provided at the end of the question.
This question allows us build a picture over time of how many people consider themselves to be part of individual religions, or consider themselves not to have a religion.
Question 13 – Can you speak Irish?
Only persons aged 3 and over should answer this question. You may mark as many boxes as apply when answering the second part of this question.
Your answer to this question will help us to show how many people can speak Irish as well as where, how often and how well they speak it
Question 14 – Do you speak a language other than English or Irish at home?
Your answer to this question will help to better understand the use of languages other than English or Irish among those living in Ireland. It will also provide valuable information on how well English is spoken among those whose main language is not English. This is important for the planning and delivery of key services such as education and health at local and national levels.
Question 15 – Do you have any of the following long-lasting conditions or difficulties?
Your answers to Questions 15 and 16 will help to provide vital information on the number of people with disabilities and the effect of their disability on their everyday lives. This will help to inform what healthcare and other services are required.
For the purpose of this question, a long-lasting condition or difficulty is one which has lasted or is expected to last for six months or longer, and/or that regularly reoccurs.
Question 16 – As a result of any long-lasting condition, do you have difficulty doing any of the following?
For people with a long-lasting condition and people who may have some difficulties due to old age, this question asks you to identify how some every day activities may be impacted. Your answers to this question will help us understand how long-lasting condition(s) or age-related issues may impact upon your everyday life. This will help to inform what health and other supports might be needed by our population.
Question 17 – How is your health in general?
There are strong links between how people view their health and their actual health. By analysing your answers, we can help to assess how health status is related to factors such as age, location and economic status.
Question 18 – Do you smoke tobacco products?
Please answer this question for every member of the household. Do not include e-cigarettes,vapes, nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, spray or snuff.
Include all tobacco products such as cigarettes, pipes, roll-your-own cigarettes (RYOs),cigars or cigarillos.
Smoking is an important factor in people’s health status. Your answers will help to provide a comprehensive national picture of smoking levels among our population.
Question 19 – How do you usually travel to work, school, college or childcare?
For people using more than one type of transport, mark the box for the type of transport taken for the longest part of the journey.
For people with more than one job, give details of the journey times relating to your main job, where your main job is the one where you spend the most time.
For people without a fixed place of work who report to a fixed address at the beginning of their work period – for example bus drivers, airline crew, operators of street market stalls that are not removed at the end of the workday – refer to that address when giving journey details.
People who do not work or attend school, college or childcare should mark ‘Not at work, school, college or childcare’ in Question 19 and leave Questions 20 to 22 blank.
By analysing your answers to Questions 19 to 22, and to Question 36, we can provide detailed information on commuting patterns, to help the planning of public transport services, traffic management and infrastructure and the production of county development plans.
Question 20 – What time do you usually leave home?
For children who attend childcare before school, the time leaving home for childcare should be entered.
People with more than one job should enter the time they leave home for the first time.
Students with a part-time job before attending college should enter the time they leave home.
People who do not work or attend school, college or childcare should leave this question blank.
Your answer to this question will help in transport monitoring and planning, by providing important information on the volume of commuter travel at different times of the day.
Question 21 – How long does your journey take?
The total journey time should be entered. This is the time taken from leaving home until arriving at the place of work, school, college or childcare.
For children attending a pre-school facility, it should include the journey time from home to this facility and the journey time from the facility to school.
People who do not work or attend school, college or childcare should leave this question blank.
Your answer to questions 21 & 22 will help us to provide a fuller picture of our daily trips to and from work, school, college or childcare. It will also help to better understand and plan for transport and childcare needs in your area and nationally.
Question 22 – What time do you usually leave work, school, college or childcare?
For children who attend afterschool care, the time they leave school should be entered.
Students with part time jobs after college should enter the time leaving college.
People who do not work or attend school, college or childcare should leave this question blank.
Question 23 – Do you provide regular unpaid personal help or support to a family member, neighbour or friend with a long-term illness, health issue, an issue related to old age or disability?
If you provide regular unpaid help as a carer, regardless of whether or not you are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance/Benefit, you should mark box ‘1’ (Yes) and write in the weekly number of hours of caring.
Your answer to this question will help us to show the extent to which carers in our society provide unpaid personal help. We can also combine this with other answers to provide a detailed picture of carers’ social and economic circumstances.
Question 24 – Do you regularly engage in helping or voluntary work in any of the following activities without pay?
Volunteers make a vital contribution to many organisations across the country, such as charities and sports bodies. Your answer here will help to provide a picture of the numbers of volunteers, as well as the areas and types of organisations in which they volunteer.
Question 25 – If you are aged under 15 go to Question 36
Questions 26 to 35 only apply to those aged 15 and over and should only be answered by/for those of that age.
Questions for those aged less than 15 resume at Question 36.
Question 26 – Have you ceased your full-time education?
The age should only be written in if the person marked box 1 ‘Yes’ that they had ceased their full-time education. This applies to people who may be involved in part time or continuous education.
Your answers to this question will help us to assess and understand the impact of education policies, changing skill levels and the extent to which people use their formal qualifications.
Question 27 – What is the highest level of education/training (full-time or part-time) which you have completed to date?
Mark the highest level of education that you have attained. Persons who received their education when institutional arrangements were different to those currently in place, or who were not educated in Ireland should select an equivalent option. Further information on qualifications, including foreign qualifications, can be found here.
A person who attended primary level only should select Primary education. A person who attended second level school but left without sitting the Group, Intermediate or Junior Cert should also mark Primary education.
A person who sat the Group, Intermediate or Junior Cert should mark Lower Secondary, regardless of the results achieved.
A person who attempted a third level course but without obtaining the certificate, diploma or degree in question should select the appropriate option at Second level.
Together with Question 26, your answers to Question 27 will help us to give a detailed picture of the qualifications and skills of our people, and to better understand and respond to our training and skills needs.
Question 28 – How would you describe your present principal status?
Mark one box only that best matches your present principal status. For example, if you are on sick leave or maternity leave, and intend to return to work at some stage, please mark box ‘1’(Working for payment or profit).
The following should mark ‘Working for payment or profit’:
- Persons who are employed or self employed.
- Persons mainly engaged in assisting relatives on farms, in shops or in any other commercial enterprises, even if they receive no regular payment.
- Priests, nuns and brothers except where they are retired or unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability.
- Persons temporarily absent from work due to illness, holidays, maternity leave etc. who intend to return to work at some stage.
- Apprentices who are in employment and who also attend school or college.
Full-time students who are in part-time employment should mark box ‘5’ (Student or pupil).
Your answer to this question will help us to show how many people in Ireland are in work, unemployed or retired, and how many are students. This is vital information in understanding the economic situation in your area and in Ireland overall.
Question 29 – If you are working go to Q30
If you are unemployed or retired go to Q31
If you are a student go to Q36
Otherwise go to Q38
Depending on your answer to Question 29, this question directs you to the next relevant question for you.
Question 30 – If you are at work, do you ever work from home?
If you work from home for less than one day per week (for example a half day per week), you should enter ‘1’.
Your answer will help us to put together a picture of the number of people who work from home, and how often they do so. This will help us better understand this important element of our employment situation
Question 31 – Do (did) you work as an employee or are (were) you self-employed in your main job?
If you have more than one job, your main job is that which takes most of your working time, or for which you receive the highest payment. This also applies to your answers to Questions 32, 34 and 36.
Persons employed as managing directors should mark box ‘1’ (Employee).
Persons in partnership in a firm having paid employees should mark box ‘2’ (Self-employed with paid employees).
Persons in partnership in a firm not having paid employees should mark box ‘3’ (Self-employed without paid employees).
Retired and unemployed people should answer Question 31 based on the work they did last.
‘Part-time’ refers to an employee whose normal hours of work, calculated on a weekly basis or on average over a period of employment of up to one year, are less than the normal hours of work of a comparable full-time worker.
Your answer to this question will help us to provide important information about the employment and economic status of our people.
Question 32 – What is (was) your occupation in your main job?
The occupation must be provided for everyone who, in Question 28 marked:
- Working for payment or profit.
- Short-term unemployed (less than 12 months)
- Long-term unemployed (12 months or more)
- Retired from employment
The description of the employment should be detailed and precise. If in doubt as to how a particular occupation should be described, it is better to give a full and detailed description.
Retired and unemployed people should answer Question 32 based on the work they did last.
The final part of the question (size of area farmed) should only be answered by farmers or farm workers.
Information on the occupations of those at work, unemployed or retired helps to better understand the employment situation in Ireland, and trends in the growth and decline of occupations, which is important in economic planning.
Question 33 – If you are retired go to Question 38
If you are retired, you have now completed your part of the census form.
If you are completing the form for others in your household, please now answer the questions for them.
If you (or the person(s) you are answering for) are in work, unemployed or is a student, please answer the remaining questions as relevant.
Question 34 – What is (was) the business of your employer at the place where you work(ed) in your main job?
Question 34 should be answered by everyone who, in Question 28 marked:
- Working for payment or profit
- Short-term unemployed (less than 12 months)
- Long-term unemployed (12 months or more)
It need not be answered by those who are retired.
If you are employed, you should provide a detailed description of the business of your current employer. If you are unemployed, please give the business of your most recent employer.
Descriptions should be detailed and precise, for example:
|Inadequate response||More precise response|
|Cleaning||Contract office cleaning|
|Software||Software development and support|
|Local Authority||Local Authority Cleaning Department|
Local Authority Library Service
Local Authority Housing Department
Your answer will help to understand and respond to changes and trends in employment in the various sectors that make up our economy.
Question 35 – If you are unemployed go to Question 38.
If you are unemployed, you have now completed your part of the census form. If you are completing the form for others in your household, please now answer all required and relevant questions for them. If you (or the person you are answering for) are working or in school, college or childcare, please answer Question 36.
Question 36 – What is the full name and address of your place of work, school, college or childcare?
For those who leave the house to go to work, school, college or childcare, write in the full name and address of this place. If the person is a child attending a pre-school facility (for example childcare/crèche/kindergarten) outside the home, write in the full name and address of the facility.
People with more than one job should supply the name and address of the job where they spend the most time or where they receive the most income.
If a child attends both school and childcare, the name and address of the school should be written in.
If the person works mainly at home or has no fixed place of work, they should tick box 1 or box 2 as appropriate.
Together with the previous questions on employment and education, this will help us to provide a detailed picture of where we go to school, college, childcare or work every day. This is vital to understanding and planning for our transport needs.
Question 37 – If you are aged under 15, are you in any type of childcare?
This question should only be answered for persons under the age of 15. If the child is in more than one type of childcare, mark the box for the type they spend most time in and write in the time that relates to that childcare type.
You have now completed the questions relating to you. Please now complete the questions for the other people in your home.
If there are others who normally live with you, but who are away on Census Night, please answer the questions at page 22 on their behalf. You can then sign your form at page 23 and store it safely until your enumerator calls to collect it.
If you live alone, please sign the form at page 23 and store it safely.
You may also wish to write a message in the Census 2022 Time Capsule on page 23.
Complete the required information for anyone who usually lives in the home with you but is not there on Census Night.
You should include all students (primary, secondary and third level) who are living away from home on Census Night.
If you listed a person/people in List 2 on page 3 of your form, please answer the above questions relating to that person/those people.
This is a space at the end of the form for you to leave your own personal message, if you would like to do so. Your message, which can be anything you want, will, along with the rest of your form, remain confidential for 100 years. It will then, along with the rest of your Census 2022 form, be made available to the public.
You might write a message for future generations of your family. Please DO NOT attach any photos as these will have to be removed in order to process the form.