Belfast Telegraph

Travellers suffer 84% unemployment

Travellers suffer the worst unemployment rates, highest disability levels and lowest education attainment, the latest census figures have shown.

A detailed review of the 2011 population study has found that travellers make up 29,573 or 0.6% of the population but the community has some of the poorest socio-economic statistics.

The report showed that there are 9,973 travellers able to work but they have an 84% unemployment rate, up from 75% in 2006. Travellers also suffer higher disability rates than the general population.

The seventh report from Census 2011, published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), identified 17.5% of Irish travellers with one or more disabilities, compared to 13% in the State as a whole, and the most common type of disability being the category of "difficulty with pain, breathing or any other chronic illness".

Low education levels in the travelling community were also highlighted with only 1% completing third level in 2011. Their average age was 22.4 compared to 36.1 for the population generally, and more than half are under 20, the census showed.

High marriage rates among travellers were also identified with one third of 15-29-year-olds wed compared to just 8% of the population.

Galway County with 2,476 travellers and South Dublin with 2,216, are the most popular areas for travellers to live.

Elsewhere, the CSO's census report offered further detail on people's religious leanings which were first published in March. The number of atheists and agnostics in Ireland is four times bigger than it was 20 years ago - 277,237 people declared themselves having no religion.

They include 14,769 primary school children and 14,478 at secondary school while the parents of 4,690 children under one year declared them as non-religious. The Catholic population is at it highest ever level topping 3.86 million but despite being the largest congregation it is at its lowest rate, 84% of the population, since records began.

Experts said that the growing numbers of atheists and large increases in the religions of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia led to the changes. Some 110,410 Poles account for the largest non-Irish group of Catholics.

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