Population tops 160,000

Donegal’s population has grown by 9.3% but the number of people living in some rural parts of the county is on the decrease.

Donegal’s population has grown by 9.3% but the number of people living in some rural parts of the county is on the decrease.

The initial figures from this year’s census show the population of the county has grown from 147,000 to almost 161,000.

But 30 of the county’s 155 electoral area divisions have seen a drop in population. Most of the electoral areas showing a decrease in population or a increase of less than 5% are in rural areas, with many close to the county’s west coast.

The number of vacant houses in Donegal increased by over 5,000 between this year’s census and the last one, the new census figures show. Donegal has the second largest percentage of vacant houses in the country after Leitrim, with 28.5% of the housing stock empty. The number of vacant houses rose by 26% increased from 19,000 to 24,000.

The female population of Donegal has grown since 2006 to overtake the male population.

The county’s female population has increased by nearly 10% to 80,516 since 2006 while the male population has increased by 8.7% to 80,411

The preliminary census results could also have an impact on the number of TDs the county elects in the next general election. The government has announced the establishment of new constituency commission which will be mandated to cut the number of TDs by between 6 and 13. Donegal could end up with just five TDs between its two constituencies.

The figures from the census show the population per TD has grown in both constituencies to 27,593 in Donegal North East and 26,049 in Donegal South West. The growth in population is bigger in Donegal north East at 12.1% compared to 6.5% in Donegal South West.