By BRIAN MOORE
THE population in West Cork has increased once again since the last Census was compiled back in 2011 and there has been a huge jump in the numbers of retired people living here.
Just over 85,000 people live currently in West Cork, according to the latest Census figures â an increase of 2,350 in five years.Â
Women outnumber men by almost 500, 13,877 households in West Cork have no mortgage, and the Census results suggests the birth rate has declined.
This is just a small sample of the results from Census 2016 released by the CSO last week, which look at population, housing, employment, services and education across the country.
While the population in West Cork has increased, the employment statistics show the numbers out of work has decreased, with just over 35,996 at work (an increase of 9%), 3,606 unemployed (a decrease of 1,900, or 35%, from 2011), 7,131 students (up 6%) and 11,783 retired people (up 16%).Â
According to the Census returns, West Cork's largest employment sector includes those working in education, health and social care, an industry responsible for the employment of over 8,300, three quarters of them female.
While this sector has seen an increase of 14% (over 1,000 workers) since 2011, the âother services' sector which include workers providing all kinds of services from consultants to hairdressers has increased by 18% (an additional 900 workers). Together, these two employers have supplied two-thirds of the jobs growth in West Cork since 2011.Â
The importance of these jobs to the local economy points to the need for better infrastructure and more access to high speed broadband for business development and for job creation in the area.While the availability and access to high speed broadband has increased by 15% to over 21,000 households, over 2,700 homes (11% of all households) are still relying on mobile internet services to go online. Nearly 22,000 households in West Cork have at least one personal computer, an increase of 3%, while almost 8,400 homes have no computer, up 1%.Â
Over 3,936 work in the farming, forestry and fishing industry, a decline of 5%. A total of almost 5,000 people work in manufacturing in West Cork, which is an increase of 500 (12%) since 2011 and likely reflects the many vibrant food processing enterprises.Â
Almost 2,285 work in building and construction an increase of almost 200 people or over 7% from 2011.
There has also been a marked hike of 46% in those ticking the âno religion' option on their form compared to 2011. That figure has increased fromÂ almost 3,100 last time around.Â
The number of those who recored their religion as Roman Catholic is downÂ by 2%, orÂ almost 1,500.
Over half of all households in the area are made up ofÂ either one or two people.