Number of people living in ‘highly rural’ areas falls since 2011

Between 2011 and 2016 there was a fall of 0.6% in the number of people living in ‘Highly rural/remote areas’, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The proportion of people living in all five other area types increased over this time period, with the largest increase of 5.5% in ‘Independent urban towns’, the office noted.

The CSO published its ‘Urban and Rural Life in Ireland, 2019’ report earlier today, Monday, December 16, noting some key trends observed.

This publication presents a comprehensive analysis of the social and economic characteristics of life in Ireland, broken down by a six-way urban/rural classification:
  • Cities;
  • Satellite urban towns;
  • Independent urban towns;
  • Rural areas with high urban influence;
  • Rural areas with moderate urban influence;
  • Highly rural/remote areas.

Themes like income, housing, health, education and commuting patterns are examined.

Commenting on the report, Karola Graupner, CSO statistician, said: “Between 2011 and 2016, there was a fall of 0.6% in the number of people living in ‘Highly rural/remote areas’.

“The proportion of people living in all five other area types increased over this time period, with the largest increase of 5.5% in ‘Independent urban towns’. In all, 33.4% of the population lived in ‘Cities’,” Graupner added.

The average distance to a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) adult emergency department was 20.1km in Ireland, with the shortest average distance of 4.4km in ‘Cities’ and the longest of 45.0km in ‘Highly rural/remote areas’.

In the first three months of 2019, the average unemployment rate was 4.7%.

However, the area classification with the highest unemployment rate was ‘Independent urban towns’ at 6.3%, while the lowest was ‘Rural areas with high urban influence’ at 4.0%.

According to the report, in a breakdown of the population by area type in 2016, the following percentages were recorded:
  • Cities – 33.4%;
  • Satellite urban towns – 12.7%;
  • Independent urban towns – 16.4%;
  • Rural areas with high urban influence – 16.1%;
  • Rural areas with moderate urban influence – 12.5;
  • Highly rural/remote areas – 8.8%.

This means the urban-rural divide is roughly 63:37 based on the above figures.