Seventy-one per cent of the population of Mayo continues to live in rural areas according to a breakdown of the statistics from the 2011 Census.
The latest statistics from last year’s Census were released by the Central Statistics Office last week and revealed that the population of the county rose by 5.6 per cent since the last Census in 2006. The population of Mayo now stands at 130,638, the highest it has been since 1956.
The three major towns in Mayo all experienced growth since 2006 with Castlebar remaining the largest town with its population growing by 3.6 per cent to 12,318. Ballina’s population has risen by 6.5 per cent to 11,086 while Westport has grown by 10.7 per cent from 5,475 in 2006 to 6,063.
Claremorris is the next largest town having seen its population rise by 31.5 per cent to 3,412 but the town with the largest population increase in Ballyhaunis. The east Mayo town has grown in population by 35.4 per cent in the last five years and its population now stands at 2,312.
In rural areas, the Claremorris rural area has seen the largest growth in population with a 9.9 per cent growth and the south Mayo area has a combined population of 15,576. The Ballina rural area continues to have the largest population with 16,416 while the Belmullet rural area has seen its population rise by just one per cent to 8,005.
The population in Gaeltacht areas has remained stagnant with the population of 10,886 the same as in 2006. The Belmullet rural area has the largest Gaeltacht population with 7,400 while the Achill Gaeltacht has a population of 2,248, a fall compared to 2,294 in 2006.
The population of Mayo’s inhabited islands shows that the number of people living on Achill has fallen from 2,620 to 2,569 but shows that the female population of 1,303 outnumbers the male population of 1,266.
The Clare island population has risen from 136 to 168 while 25 people live on Innisbiggle, 53 live on Inishturk. The least inhabited island is Dubhoileán Mór off the Blacksod coast with two people listed while Inishgort and Island More in Clew Bay which had a population of one each in 2006 had no inhabitants in 2011.
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