Population With one-third of the State’s population (1.6m), the Region is the second most populated Regional Assembly area. All 10 local authority areas have experienced growth at varying levels since 2006. Between 2006 and 2016, the highest rates of population increase were in commuter areas near to Cork and Limerick Cities and in areas close to other larger settlements. Areas associated with the Dublin commuter belt in Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford also saw large population increases. Population decline was also experienced, primarily in rural and peripheral areas, with the largest decreases recorded in areas of Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Cork. Population decline was also evident in areas within Cork, Limerick and Waterford Cities. The overall age structure for the Region mirrors that of the State. Population projections anticipate large increases in the 15-24 year (+26%), 45–64 year (+14%) and 65+year (+56%) age groups between 2016 and 2031. The 0-14 year and 25-44 year age groups are projected to decrease by approximately 14%. This changing age profile will impact how we plan for the Region’s future. Detailed demographic analysis is available in the SRA Socio-Economic Evidence Baseline Report 2018.
Settlement Structure The Region boasts a strong network of urban centres with three cities in each of the three SPA’s and 13 Towns with populations of over 10,000. The Region is further served by 15 towns with populations between 5,000 and 10, 000, and 45 settlements with populations between 1,500 and 5,000 that act as key service centres for their hinterlands. In 2016, the three cities and suburbs accounted for 22% of the Region’s total population. Growth in the cities and suburbs outpaced overall Regional and State level growth from 2011-2016, showing encouraging signs that our cities are strengthening their population base. There is evidence of significant decline in some smaller towns and villages in the Region. Investment and policy support is urgently needed to bolster and consolidate these vital settlements to arrest the decline and the consequent depletion of the physical fabric and provision of services in these areas.
Table 1.1 | Settlement Size
Limerick City and Suburbs: 94,192
Cork City and Suburbs: 208,669
Waterford City and Suburbs: 53,504
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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