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Religious minorities in Ireland

No Religion

The number of people who self-identify as belonging to the no religion category in Ireland is growing. In 2011 this category represented 5.88% of the population or 269,811 people. There are 83,493 more people who fall into the no religion category (44% increase) in Ireland today compared to 2001. The highest concentration of people of no religion is in the urban areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, and Limerick. In counties Kildare and Wicklow (both located close to urban Dublin) and Clare (along western seaboard) between 5%-7% of the population belong to this category.


3,905 people in Ireland say they are atheist. This represents 0.09 of the population. By contrast, less than a 1,000 people belonged to this category in 2006. This means that there has been a quite dramatic percentage increase (320%) in the number of atheists in Ireland since 2006.


About 8,000 Irish people self-identified as Buddhist in 2011 – an increase of more than 2,000 (33%) since 2006. Most of the Buddhist population is located in Dublin.


Muslims make up 1.07% of the population. While this is a small number in absolute terms, the Muslim religion is one of the fastest growing in Ireland, increasing by 51.22% since the 2006 census. The Muslim population is concentrated in the urban area of the capital city, Dublin. 21 per cent of Muslims in Ireland are of African nationality and 23 per cent are of Asian nationality.


The orthodox religion is the fastest growing religion in Ireland. 45,233 people belong to this category, compared to about 21,000 in 2011. This represents a 117% growth of the Orthodox population.


Pentecostals are also growing in number in Ireland, from about 8,000 in 2006 to over 14,000 in 2011 (73% increase).


The Baha’i religion increased its number of devotees by 16 between 2006 and 2011, representing an increase of 3%. About 500 Irish people belong to this religious category.

Jehovah’s Witness

About 6,000 people in Ireland belong to Jehovah’s Witness. This religion gained about 1,000 new adherents since 2006, representing an increase of 19%.

Source: All-Island Research Observatory

D 25 January 2013    ABrian Conway

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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