Mayo remains a rural heartland

The Mayo community games girls' U14 mixed distance relay team who finished the event with the silver medals at the Community Games in Dublin last weekend. Aisling Flanagan (Breaffy), Moya O'Connell (Ballinrobe), Ava Flynn (Castlebar), Roisin O'Brien (Islandeady), Ella Deely (Turlough Towers), and Willow McConville (Hollymount).

The Mayo community games girls' U14 mixed distance relay team who finished the event with the silver medals at the Community Games in Dublin last weekend. Aisling Flanagan (Breaffy), Moya O'Connell (Ballinrobe), Ava Flynn (Castlebar), Roisin O'Brien (Islandeady), Ella Deely (Turlough Towers), and Willow McConville (Hollymount).

More than 70 per cent of the population of Mayo live in rural areas, according to the latest data released by the Central Statistics Office following the Census which was taken last year. The CSO has reported that, of the total population of 130,507 recorded in the county, 37,276 (28.6 per cent ) live in urban areas, with 99,231 (71.4 per cent ) living in rural areas.

Nationally the urban rural divide was 62.7 per cent living in urban areas and 37.3 per cent living in rural areas, a trend that is reversed here in Mayo. When it comes to the largest population cluster, the largest town in the county was Castlebar where 12,068 people reside (a fall of two per cent on the 2011 population ). Just over nine per cent of the population of Mayo live in the county town, and just over 32 per cent of the urban population of the county live in Castlebar. The latest report has also found that Claremorris is the fastest growing town in the county with an urban population increase of 8.1 per cent between 2011 and 2016; the south Mayo town grew from 3,412 to 3,687 in this five year interval. Other towns to see a population growth included Ballinrobe, which saw its population increase by by three per cent up to 2,786, and Westport, which rose by 2.2 per cent to 6,198. Meanwhile Ballina saw its population drop by 8.3 per cent, from 11,086 to 10,171.

Other data released by the CSO included that of the 5,966 usual Mayo residents who moved in the year to April 2016, most (4,270 ) moved elsewhere within the county and 1,696 moved to a different county. Only 391 of the 2,463 Mayo households who moved in the year preceding the Census bought their new home with a mortgage or loan, while 1,634 rented their accommodation.

Mayo has proved a popular place for people to move to within Ireland, with 32.1 per cent of Mayo residents born outside the county, and 17 per cent of those were born outside of Ireland and now live in Mayo. When it comes to migration within Ireland, 27.4 per cent of people recorded on the Census who were born in Mayo now live outside the county.

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