Irish Census Reveals Huge Gains for the Non-Religious (and a Slight Drop for Irish Catholics) April 7, 2017

Irish Census Reveals Huge Gains for the Non-Religious (and a Slight Drop for Irish Catholics)

If the numbers from the Ireland Census indicate a trend, the phrase “Irish Nones” may eventually become as ubiquitous as Irish Catholics.

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The Central Statistics Office has released the results of the latest Census and there’s a lot to be said about the changes since the previous count five years ago.

When it comes to religion, the Catholic Church has lost a handful of people — 132,220 to be exact — but that may not be catastrophic when you realize there are still more than 3.7 million Catholics in the country.

But it gets very interesting when you look at numbers for the non-religious…

IrishCensus2017

There are 468,421 Nones in Ireland, up from 269,811 five years ago. That’s a 73.6% increase — the largest rise of any religious demographic.

What about atheists specifically? There are 7,477 of them. It’s a tiny fraction of the Nones but an important and vocal group nonetheless.

Perhaps the more amusing findings involve smaller religions (with at least 30 adherents). Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland summarizes:

More Jedi Knights (2,050) than Jews (1,929) or Jains (134)

More Pastafarians (92) than Scientologists or Hare Krishnas (87 each)

More Satanists (78) than Salvation Army members (52)

That has to upset some people. When even parody religions outnumber your real one? Ouch.

Keep in mind that these changes for the non-religious occurred even while the option to check it off was at the very bottom of the religion list:

NoReligionIrishCensus

If the design wasn’t so poor, how many more people would’ve checked it off? In Australia, they redesigned the same question to avoid that very problem.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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