The results from Central Statistics Office in Ireland has delivered its first comprehensive look at Ireland’s homeless population from last year’s Census.

The reports that the data, published on Thursday, reveals that at the time of the Census last year, 3,808 people were homeless in Ireland. Of those, 457 children (those under the age of 14) were homeless - 199 were aged under four, and 154 were aged between five and nine.

208 pensioners identified as homeless, one-third of whom were aged over 75. Almost three-quarters of the homeless population were aged between 20 and 59, reports The Irish Times.

Males made up the largest portion of the homeless population by making up two-thirds of it.

At 62 percent, more than half of Ireland’s homeless population was in the capital city of Dublin. However, surrounding counties of Meath, Kildare, and Wicklow delivered the lowest portions of the population with 32 percent.

The data is reliant on an agreement by stakeholders that the homeless people would be identified based on where they were on Census Night last year, rather than their own self-identification.

64 people, six of whom were women, were ‘sleeping rough,’ while the remainder was in temporary homeless accommodation of some sort.

A larger portion, 992 people, identified as being ‘long term’ homeless. However, the largest amount - 1,648 - were classed as ‘emergency’ homeless or nonpermanent.

Aside from quantifying the Irish homeless population, the census revealed information about the well-being of the homeless. A third of those identified as homeless said that they were in ‘fair,’ ‘bad,’ or ‘very bad’ health, a stark contrast with the 10 percent of the rest of the Irish population who indicated the same.

Twenty percent of the homeless indicated that they have an emotional or psychological problem.

Over a quarter of the homeless indicated they did not have education past the primary level, which is much greater than the 8 percent of the rest of the population who indicated the same.

The Irish Times
notes that the homeless population saw a much higher margin of divorce within its population as compared to the rest of the population. 16.7 percent of homeless people were separated or divorced, more than twice of the 6 percent of the rest of the population. 6 per cent of the homeless were married, while two-thirds were single.

A staggering 84 percent of the homeless population said that they were unemployed or looking for their first job.

Deirdre Cullen, CSO senior statistician, said the census marked the “first time such a comprehensive approach to identifying homeless people in Ireland was undertaken as part of the census and follows strong cooperation among all the main stakeholders working in the area of homelessness in Ireland.”


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