By Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician, Central Statistics Office

On Sunday, 24 April, every person in County Wicklow will make their mark by completing, or being included on, a census form. By participating in the census, we are helping to shape our understanding about life in Ireland in 2016, and show how Ireland has changed since the last census was taken in 2011.
The census is a fundamental part of our national heritage and collective knowledge. The 2016 census will take place exactly one hundred years to the day since the Easter Rising began, and the results will be of great interest to the historians of the future as they look back and reflect on life in Ireland in 2016.
Between now and 24 April, census enumerators will hand deliver census forms to every dwelling in Wicklow. Each household will be asked to fill out their census form on Sunday, 24 April. This is known as census night and everyone who is in Ireland on that night must be included on a census form. Between 25 April and 20 May, your enumerator will call back to collect your forms. The forms are then sent to the CSO warehouse where the information on them is captured and analysed.
The census provides vital information on a wide range of topics and issues and is used by every government department and local authority in the country, along with a wide range of both public and private service providers. Census data feeds into the planning stages of most aspects of Irish life, for example, new primary schools or nursing homes, trains and tram lines, childcare facilities or shopping centres.
The greatest strength of the census is the provision of detailed population figures at local level, and for minority groups. This data is used to identify, for example, e.g. the most appropriate locations for new local roads and bus routes, new primary schools and hospitals, areas of relatively high unemployment and the best locations for new factories.
The census is also the only means of accurately measuring the exact extent of migration. By comparing the results of successive censuses, and taking account of the number of births and deaths that have occurred over the same period, we can get an accurate measure of net migration (the difference between inward and outward migration).
The last census was taken five years ago, in 2011. It showed that the population of Wicklow was 136,640 (67,542 males and 69,098 females), an increase of 8.3% over the 2006 population. Bray had the highest density population within the county, with 31,872 people living in the town. The fastest growing town at the time was Rathnew which experienced 60.3% population growth between 2006 and 2011.
The population of Wicklow is mostly urban, with 65.1% living in urban parts of the county. 9.9% of all dwellings in the county were vacant, compared with a national average of 14.5%. 6.7% of Wicklow people identified as Church of Ireland in 2006, compared to a national average of 2.9%. The average weekly rent of private rented accommodation was €180.84 which was higher than the national average of €166.61.
This level of information is very important in helping service providers to plan appropriately to meet the needs of the people of Wicklow, and it shows why it matters that everyone completes their census form. The first results from Census 2016 will be published this July. It will take a further nine months to scan and capture the full set of data off the 2 million census forms. The detailed results will be published in March 2017.
More information about Census 2016 can be found on Your census enumerator can also answer any questions you may have.