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Community demographics

Author - Peter Byrne


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Following the marked industrial decline of the south-west inner-city of Dublin, the area is characterised today by all the compound problems which accompany long-term unemployment. The area has suffered from dereliction, physical neglect, large-scale environmental decay, heavy pollution, poor infrastructure, substandard housing, and a lack of recreational facilities and open green spaces. The south-west inner-city is now characterised by complex social exclusion and by multi-dimensional deprivation.

The area houses the largest concentration of public-authority housing in the Irish state, and unemployment rates of 80–90% are found in many of these flat complexes. The number of lone-parent households is above average, and the South Inner City Drugs Task Force estimates that as many as 12% of the population in its area are drug users: among the male population aged 15–24 in the Dublin 8 area alone, 10.7% are drug users.

The population of the south-west inner-city is 35,926, and the population density is 17,067 persons per square mile – nationally the figure is 135 persons per square mile.

- 16% of the population of the south-west inner-city are aged 14 or less;
- 36% are under 25 years;
- 34% are aged 25-44 years;
- 17% are aged between 45-64 years and 14% of the population are aged 65 and over.

A total of 29% of the population is judged to be age dependant
- 35% of the population have no formal or primary education;
- 16% have lower secondary education;
- 22% have upper secondary education;
- 27% have third-level education;
- 41% of the adult population have left school at or before the age of 15 years.

Within the area, 32% of men and 37% of women have left school with no formal or primary education; 39% of the unemployed population in the south-west inner city have either no formal education or have attended primary level only. Community personnel estimate that as many as 50% of adults have literacy problems.

The social class of all persons aged 15 years and over is determined by their occupation and employment status:

- 21% are in Social Classes 1 and 2 – professional, managerial and technical;
- 28% are in Social Classes 3 and 4 – non-manual and skilled manual;
- 22% are in Social Classes 5 and 6 – semi-skilled and unskilled;
- 28% have never been in paid employment or who live in households where the head of the household has never been in paid employment.

Of the unemployed population in the south west inner city, 55% have been unemployed for three years or more.