More Trav­ellers go to col­lege but un­em­ploy­ment still high

The Irish Times - - Home News - KITTY HOL­LAND So­cial Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

More Trav­ellers are go­ing to col­lege but ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment among their num­ber “con­tin­ues to lag sig­nif­i­cantly be­hind” that of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, the lat­est cen­sus fig­ures show.

A re­port pub­lished by the Cen­tral Statis­tics Of­fice yes­ter­day, which draws on data re­lat­ing to eth­nic­ity which was gath­ered in last year’s cen­sus, high­lights the rel­a­tive youth of the Trav­eller pop­u­la­tion as well as lower life ex­pectancy and higher un­em­ploy­ment rates.

There were 30,987 Trav­ellers res­i­dent in Ire­land in April 2016, an in­crease of 5.1 per cent on the April 2011 fig­ure (29,495). They were liv­ing in 8,717 house­holds, an in­crease of 12.3 per cent since 2011, and were more likely than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion to be in house­holds of more than one fam­ily – 4.2 per cent of Trav­eller house­holds were mul­ti­ple-fam­ily com­pared with 1.3 per cent in the wider pop­u­la­tion.

Al­most 60 per cent of Trav­ellers are un­der 25, com­pared with 33.4 per cent of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. Just 451 Trav­eller men and 481 Trav­eller women are 65 and older.

“Ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment among Trav­ellers con­tin­ues to lag sig­nif­i­cantly be­hind that of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. Among Trav­eller fe­males just 13.3 per cent were ed­u­cated to se­condary school level or above, com­pared

with 69 per cent of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion,” says the re­port.

“Nearly six in 10 male Trav­ellers (57.2 per cent) were ed­u­cated to pri­mary level at most, com­pared with just 13.6 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion.”

How­ever, “the 167 Trav­ellers with a third-level qual­i­fi­ca­tion was al­most dou­ble the 2011 fig­ure of 89”.

The ma­jor­ity (80.2 per cent) of the 10,653 Trav­ellers in the labour force are un­em­ployed. Al­most one in eight (11.3 per cent) said they were un­able to work due to a dis­abil­ity, al­most three times the rate in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion (4.3 per cent).

Trav­ellers are also more ur­banised than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, with 78.6 per cent of them in cities or towns (of 1,500 or more), com­pared with 62.4 per cent of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. The high­est num­ber – 5,089 – live in Dublin city and its sub­urbs fol­lowed by Gal­way city (1,589) and Cork city (1,222).

Out­side the cities Tuam, Co Gal­way, has the largest Trav­eller pop­u­la­tion with 737, fol­lowed by Long­ford town with 730. Other towns that are home to 500 or more Trav­ellers are Na­van, Mullingar, Dun­dalk and Bal­li­nasloe.

Trav­ellers con­tinue to marry younger than the rest of the pop­u­la­tion, with 32 per cent of 15-29-year-old Trav­ellers mar­ried, com­pared with 5.8 per cent in the wider pop­u­la­tion.

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