Census 2022 Summary Results

31st May 2023

The results of the 2022 National census are in the news this week. The CSO is the organisation that manages the census. 

The results of the 2022 census show a decrease in the number of people using Irish Sign Language (ISL) since the previous census in 2016. IDS believe that this data is not accurate for a number of reasons: 

  • The questions in the census about ISL are not clear and can be confusing.  
  • IDS gave feedback to CSO about this before the 2022 census about this and we continue to campaign for changes to the questions that will make them more accurate. One example, the census asks what language do  you use at home, we know that many Deaf do not sign at home even though ISL is their preferred language. 
  • Before the 2022 census Deaf organisations were not able to provide face to face advocacy and language support to Deaf people because of the pandemic. We believe many more Deaf people would have completed the census with support. 
  • This issue is compounded by a lack of governmental support and awareness for ISL. If the government supported ISL we believe it would reduce stigma and discrimination towards the Deaf community and more Deaf people would identify as ISL users. 

For these reasons, the Irish Deaf Society does not accept the Census results as showing accurate data and estimates higher numbers of ISL users. We will advocate for meaningful engagement with the CSO to ensure future census data accurately represents Irish Sign Language usage. The next census is in 2027. 

IDS has written a formal response with more details on these issues and will be sending it the CSO and the Department of Equality. 

31st May 2023

Irish Deaf Society