The number of Irish people who have experienced divorce has increased 150 percent since 2002, according to Census 2011.
Combining separation, divorce and remarriage following divorce, the overall number of Irish people who have experienced a broken marriage has jumped from 155,239 in 2002, to 247,000 last year, an increase of just under 60 percent in that time period.
The Census, published today, showed that there had been a 150 per cent increase in the number of divorced people in the last nine years. In 2002, there were 35,059 people classified as divorced. The 2011 Census shows that there are now 87,770 divorced people.
Since 1986, marital breakdown in Ireland has shown a sixfold increase. In 1986, there were 40,347 separated people.
Commenting on the figures on behalf of The Iona Institute, Professor Patricia Casey said: “Marital breakdown in Ireland is still quite low by international standards, but the very significant increase in the number of Irish people who have experienced the tragedy of marital breakdown is still very worrying and must be addressed”.
She continued: “The new census figures show that we simply cannot take the institution of marriage for granted, but we have to work as a society to strengthen it and promote it”.
Professor Casey added: “We have also take into account the effect of this on children. Very few married couples would ever want their children to have to experience their separation. But as the Census figures also confirm, a growing number of children never experience the benefit of being raised by their own mother and father together in the first place. This, too, is a cause for concern.”
Other figures from Census 2011 also showed that the percentage of children being raised in non-marital family units now stands at 28 percent, up from 26 percent in 2006, 22 percent in 2002, and just 12.8 percent in 1986.
The number of children being raised in non-marital family units is 456,661 out of a total of 1,625,675 children.
A total of 21.6 percent of children are being raised in lone parent families, and 6.4 percent by cohabiting couples.
By international standards, Ireland has a high percentage of children being raised by lone parents. The average for OECD countries as at 2007 was 14.9 percent.