Chapter 4 - Southern Environs in Context

Closeddate_range10 Oct, 2020, 8:00am - 23 Nov, 2020, 5:00pm

4 - Southern Environs in Context 

The Southern Environs is located to the south of Limerick City, in close proximity to the City Centre. The Southern Environs comprises all parts of the suburban area to the south of the Ballinacurra Creek/ Ballynaclogh River, including the settlement of Mungret and the built up areas of Dooradoyle, Raheen, Ballycummin, Ballykeefe, and Gouldavoher. The Southern Environs also includes Rosbrien-Rathurd and Georgian Village Crossagalla.

The natural boundaries of the Southern Environs include the Shannon Estuary and the Ballinacurra Creek along the former Limerick City Council boundary line.

The Southern Environs is an area largely urban in nature that has experienced considerable population increase over time. The importance of the Southern Environs to the county and region is reflected in the range and scale of land use in the area, and the provision of important large-scale infrastructural developments including the N18 Limerick Tunnel underneath the River Shannon. 

The area accommodates a number of regionally important assets such as the University Hospital Limerick, the Crescent Shopping Centre and Raheen Business Park.

Figure 3 Southern Environs Limerick

4.1 Demographic Profile 

The principal demographic trends for the Southern Environs as set out in CSO Census data are outlined in the following sections.

4.1.1 Population 

The Southern Environs had a population of 19,073 persons in 2016, representing an increase of 5% on the 2011 population figure of 18,092 persons. The 2011 Census indicated a population growth rate of 12% on the 2006 population figure of 16,065.

The slowdown of population growth in the Southern Environs occurred concurrently with a marked reduction in the rate of dwelling construction during the recession following the 2008 economic crash. The area in general continued to grow in population however, but at a slower rate than in the previous inter Census period.

4.1.2 Age Profile 

In terms of age profile, the Southern Environs has a relatively young population. The 2016 Census data indicates that the 0-14 age cohort accounted for 23.51%, whereas for the remainder of the city area, this age cohort only accounts for just over 14% of the population. The other category that is particularly important in the Southern Environs is the 25-44 age group, which accounts for 35.82% of the population, far exceeding the 23% equivalent for the remainder of the city area. In contrast, the middle and older age groups are less important in the Southern Environs than they are for the rest of the city area.

The rural areas of Mungret and Rosbrien-Rathurd are the highest ranking in terms of the importance of older people relative to their populations. However, in terms of the contribution to the overall numbers of older people in the Southern Environs, Dooradoyle is by far the most important. It accounts for 45% of all residents of age 65 and over, whereas it only accounts for 32% of the areas’ population. This reflects the fact that Dooradoyle is the oldest part of the Southern Environs.

Figure 4: Age Profile Census 2016

These cohorts are significant in terms of the requirements for service provision such as schools and childcare facilities, the provision of housing, health care and employment opportunities.

4.1.3 Age Dependency Ratio 

The Age Dependency Ratio shows the ratio of people aged under 14 years and over 65 years compared to people of working age (15-64 years). The Age Dependency Ratio nationally increased from 49.3% in 2011 to 52.7% in 2016, meaning the number of people who are aged under 15 or over 65 years of age is more than half the number of people who are of working age. Nationally, the main factor in the increase in the total age dependency ratio is the increase of older people. The young dependency ratio only increased by 0.5 points while the old dependency ratio increased by 3.0 points.

The Southern Environ’s age dependency ratio was 49.2% in 2016 (increasing from 43.8% in 2011). The population is aging in line with national trends, but the increase in dependency ratio is split more evenly between young and old, with the young dependency ratio increasing by 2.37 points and the old dependency ratio increasing by 3.04. The youth dependency ratio accounts for 70% of the dependency ratio in the Southern Environs, whereas in Limerick city as a whole it accounts for 60%.

4.1.4 Family Cycle 

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) provides the following classifications of family units:

  • Pre-family: Married or cohabiting couple without children where female is under 45 years;
  • Empty-nest: Married or cohabiting couple without children where female is aged between 45 and 64 years;
  • Retired: Married or cohabiting couple without children where female is aged 65 years and over;
  • Pre-school: Oldest child is aged 0-4 years;
  • Early-school: Oldest child is aged 5-9 years;
  • Pre-adolescent: Oldest child is aged 10-14 years;
  • Adolescent: Oldest child is aged 15-19 years;
  • Adult: Oldest child is aged 20 years and over.

In the Southern Environs the most important stages in the family cycle, are the pre-school and early school groups, which together account for 28% of all families. This profile will place pressure on childcare and school places in the Southern Environs.

Families in the empty nester and retired stages account for 16.6% of all families in the Southern Environs. Transitions in the family cycle will require additional services such as healthcare and options for the downsizing of dwellings.

The average number of children per family in the Southern Environs is 1.35, slightly below the national average number of children per family in the State, which was 1.38.


Figure 5: Family Cycle Census 2016


4.1.5 Average Household Size

The 2016 Census found an average household size of 2.83 persons in the Southern Environs, compared to an average of 2.62 in Limerick City and a national average of 2.75 persons in 2016. This represents a slight increase from an average of 2.77 persons per household in the Southern Environs in 2011.

4.1.6 Student Population 

The 2016 Census data indicates that 1,672 persons or 11.12% of the population in the Southern Environs were students of age 15 years or over. The overall student population in Limerick City was 16%. This statistic reflects the age profile base of the population and the proximity of third level institutes to the Southern Environs.

4.2 Socio Economic Profile 

The principal socio economic trends for the Southern Environs set out in the CSO Census data in the following sections.

4.2.1 Education 

Having regard to the Census 2016 data, 2.6% of the population in the Southern Environs had left education by 15 years of age, 1.15% had no formal education and 5.36% received a primary education. It is noted that 13.5% of the population aged 15 and over in Limerick City and County left school with no formal education or having received a primary education, which is marginally higher than the national rate of 12.5%. However, in the Southern Environs, the combined proportion of 6.51% of the population aged 15 and over, having a primary education is much lower than the City and County average.

Third level or higher qualifications were attained by 44.3% of the Southern Environ’s population, compared to 30% in Limerick City and 33.4% nationally.

Figure 6: Qualifications Census 2016

In terms of qualifications, the 2016 Census for Southern Environs indicated that 17.9% were qualified in Social Sciences, Business and Law, 12.3% in Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction and 9.47% in Health and Welfare. The remaining qualifications included Education, Services, Arts and Humanities.


4.2.2 Employmnet and Unemployment 

The 2016 Census data indicates that 59% of the population of the Southern Environs at age 15 or over were at work, 11.5% were retired, 11.2% were students and 6.8% were unemployed. The working population was above the national average of 53%. The result of the 2016 Census showed the beginnings of a recovery in the labour market among the area’s residents. These statistics indicate that the community in the Southern Environs comprises working households with high employment rates. 

Figure 7: Principal Economic Status Census 2016

4.2.3 Social Class 

In 2016 the Census data indicated that the workforce in the Southern Environs comprised 31% managerial and technical staff, which is the most important class in the study area. In descending order of importance from this are non-manual at 18%, all others ‘gainfully occupied and unknown’ at 14.5%, and then professional workers at 12.3%. The percentage of the workforce accounted for by managers, directors and senior officials is 7.76%. 

Figure 8: Social Class Census 2016

4.2.4 Income 

The Southern Environs area displays a variation of median gross household incomes. However, the median incomes are above the national median average of €45,256. The proportion of households where working age Social Welfare constituted the majority of household income varies from 3.8% to 15% across the LAP area. The highest percentage of households (9.6%) which fall into this category are found in Ballycummin ED. The State Pension constitutes the majority of gross household income for 6.9% of households in Ballycummin ED and Limerick South Rural.

4.2.5 Nationality 

The 2016 Census data indicated that 22% of the population in the Southern Environs had a birthplace outside of Ireland, representing a diversification of the community. Of the 19,073 persons in the Southern Environs in 2016, 16,578 persons were of Irish nationality, followed by Polish (1,356 persons) and the rest of the world outside the UK and EU (829).