Fingal County - Socio-Economic Profile

Closeddate_range12 Mar, 2021, 9:00am - 12 May, 2021, 11:59pm


Fingal County is 465 sq.m. in area, hosts a variety of landscapes, enjoys significant economic advantages and is the fastest growing county in Ireland. Fingal is well served by air, sea and national roads and the county has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the state. Employment in the county increased by 15% between 2011 and 2016. Key economic sectors in the county include tourism, retail & hospitality, information technology & communications, agriculture, public administration and commerce & trade.

Fingal has major economic assets, including Dublin Airport, proximity to Dublin City & the Dublin Port Tunnel, road and rail infrastructure and a prime location on the Dublin-Belfast Economic corridor. Fingal has experienced significant population and economic development since the adoption of the current Development Plan. There has been significant investment in green infrastructure throughout the county and  Fingal County Council continue to work with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) regarding the Metrolink.

The country now faces major economic challenges.  At the start of 2020 unemployment was just 4.8% nationally having recovered strongly following the financial recession.  As of September 2020, the adjusted unemployment rate was 14.7%. Passenger throughput at Dublin Airport contracted from 6.7 million in Q1 2020 to just 156,000 in Q2.

A key strategy for future economic development in Fingal includes appropriately locating intensive employment uses adjacent to public transport networks, and where appropriate, residential developments; encouraging existing economic clusters and developing new clustering opportunities; and, regenerating inefficiently performing business and industrial parks, land, and buildings. The next Development Plan will aim to create sustainable compact communities with improved housing choice, access to social and economic opportunities, enhanced services and amenities for a resident population of some 1.65m people in the metropolitan area by 2031.

The following section outlines some key information regarding the socio economic and demographic profile of Fingal.

Population Increase & Distribution

Fingal was the third most populous local authority in Ireland (after Dublin City and Cork County) with a total of 296,020 people in 2016. Between 2006 and 2016 the population in Fingal increased by 23.3% or by just over 56,000 people. There was an increase of 7.4% (22,029 persons) between 2011 and 2016. This was considerably higher than the national average growth rate of 3.8% for the same period. The population of Fingal is projected to increase to between 327,000 and 333,000 up to 2026.

The distribution of population varied across Fingal with the highest population per Electoral Division concentrated along the outskirts of Dublin City (particularly in the western areas of Blanchardstown and Castleknock) and along the eastern cost (population is relatively evenly distributed from Howth up to Balbriggan). Naturally, there were urban clusters of higher population such as Blanchardstown, Balbriggan and Swords whilst the north west of Fingal was the least populated area and indicative of the rural transition from north county Dublin towards Louth and Meath. Within Fingal, 92.7% of the population lives within the Aggregate Town Area[1] (ATA) as defined by CSO whilst 7.3% reside in the Aggregate Rural Area (ARA).

Housing Delivery

The number of sites/dwellings under construction:
2,339 Units Under Construction
Active sites
127 Sites with planning permission
(Including 13 SHD Sites)
74 Active Sites
(Including 4 SHDs)

Figures as of Q4 2020 Taskforce (Sites with 10 Units or more)

Housing program

Fingal County Council continues to deliver social housing units and continues to provide housing solutions in accordance with the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan through a range of delivery mechanisms including construction, Part V, acquisitions, leasing and Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP). The Council has an ambitious construction programme underway with 29 sites across the county with 318 homes delivered in 2020, a further 89 on site, 173 at tendering stage and 72 at planning stage. There were 1,189 offers of housing support in 2020 in Fingal County Council. Since its inception in Fingal County Council in 2017, the HAP team have set up over 2,300 tenancies. Since 1st January 2020, a total of 559 households have exited homelessness through the various means of housing support. Homeless HAP accounts for 390 of these tenancies. There have been 30 Part V dwellings delivered to date this year with a further 70 dwellings nearing completion. Detailed design and the pre-planning process have commenced in relation to 504 discounted purchase, discounted rental and social properties at Church Fields, Dublin 15.

Socio Economic Trends

Population structure and Age profiles:  Fingal County Council is the youngest local authority in the State (at 33.8 years) which is 3.7 years lower than the State, 2.2 years lower than the region and 2.5 years lower than Dublin average. Across Fingal, the average male is 33.1 years old, which was slightly younger than the average female at 34.4 years. There were 87,140 persons under 19 years of age with 24,899 children of pre-school age (0-4 years old). A further 39,349 children (13.3% of the population), were of primary school age (5-12 years old) and a further 22,892 (7.7% of the population) were of secondary school age (13-18 years old).    63,488 (21.45%) persons are aged between 45-64 years of age.

Age Dependency Ratio: The age dependency ratio is the proportion of population in the young (0-14 years) and old (65 years and above) cohorts to the working population cohort (15-64 years). In the case of Fingal, the working cohort of Fingal equates to 66.3% of the population. Within Fingal, approximately 196,372 people are regarded as being of working age, of which this 162,865 (or 55.0% of the total population) are within the prime working age cohorts (25-64 years of age). In contrast, 33.7% of its population is dependent. This comprises 72,613 young persons (i.e. aged 0-14 years) and 27,035 older persons (i.e. aged 65 years and above).

Dependency ratios are used to indicate the balance between the working population and those that are dependent on them. Fingal’s dependency (33.7%) is lower than the national average (34.5%) and comparable to the region (33.2%). 31.5% of the population across Dublin was dependent, however the latter was influenced by Dublin City which had a relatively low dependency rate of 28.1%. Fingal demonstrated the second lowest dependency rate of the four local authorities within Dublin.

Density: Fingal has an average density of 646 persons per Within Fingal, Blanchardstown and Swords have the highest density levels. Blanchardstown also has one of the highest density levels within EMRA at 4,826 persons per

Labour Force: The highest labour force participation rate in the EMRA is in Fingal. The total labour force in Fingal in 2016 was 149,386 or 66.9%. Fingal has an employment rate of almost 90% of the labour force compared to 87% nationally. According to Census 2016, the total Labour Force at Work in Fingal was 133,971 and this accounts for 89.7% of the total labour force in the Dublin SPA. This increased by 14,695 or 11% over the period from 2011-2016. According to POWSCAR 2016 there was a total of 94,751 jobs with destinations recorded as being within the county.

Commuting: The 2016 Census found that 47,707 (36.1%) of Fingal residents worked within Fingal. This increased by circa 4,000 since 2011. In 2016 in Fingal 34% (45,179) of the working population commuted to Dublin City for work.  This results in a large proportion of the population commuting to work outside of the county. The number leaving the county to work elsewhere (mainly Dublin City) had increased by circa 2,300 since 2011. While the numbers living and working in the county increased over the census periods, those commuting elsewhere to work also increased.

There remains a large dependence on the car as a means of getting to work, school or college within the county. 76,249 persons were recoded as using the car to travel to the above locations. This includes 73,929 using the car to get to their place of work. Bus/minibus/coach was the second most used mode of transport for getting to work. While those walking to work in Fingal amounted to 7,087 persons, 23,536 people walked to school or college in the area.

Unemployment: The Labour Force Unemployment Rate in Fingal in 2016 was 10.3%. As of September 2020, the national adjusted unemployment rate was 14.7% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

All of the above (and below) factors need to be considered when preparing the next Development Plan.

Facts about Fingal
The county is characterised by a very young population. There are
87,140 persons
under 19 years of age
The average household size in Fingal County Council is
3.03 persons
per household

which is the highest of the local authorities in Dublin.
2016 - Top 3 occupational groups:
6,515 Sales & retail assistants
4,696 Other administrative occupations
3,792 Nurses & midwives
2019 - Top 3 non-Irish nationalities:
11,419 - Polish
5,521   - Romanian
4,449   - UK
2019 - Top 3 martial
54% - Single
39% - Married
3% - Widowed
2019 - Top 3 types of commuting:
13% - Bus, Coach or Mini bus
15% - On foot
52% - Motor car
Home ownership
55,347 - Owner occupied
27,016 - Rented
4,244 - Other


[1] The aggregate town area is defined as those persons living in population clusters of 1,500 or more inhabitants. The aggregate rural area contains the population residing in all areas outside clusters of 1,500 or more inhabitants.

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