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About Mayo County

Geographical and socio-economic factors in Mayo

• The population of Mayo was 123,839 at the last Census (2006).

• Mayo is the third largest county in Ireland.

• Mayo is 558,605 hectatres in area, 274,238 of this being farmed.

• The population density in Mayo is 22.2 people per square km, far below the national avarage of 60.6.

• Overall Population Breakdown 2006:

• Castlebar 10,655

• Ballina 10,056

• Westport 5,163

• Claremorris 2,595

• Belmullet 1,074

Mayo Context

Mayo County is located in the province of Connacht, on the West coast of Ireland. It is the third largest county in the state and measures 5585 km2 in area. It borders counties Sligo, Galway and Roscommon. Mayo Volunteer Centre serves the county-wide area – a population of 123,839 ( Source Census 2006 ). The population density for County Mayo of 22.2 people per sq km remains far below the national average of 60.6, thus indicating a relatively high level of population dispersal in the County. Between 1996 and 2002, Ballina and Castlebar together accounted for two thirds of the population change in all urban areas (as defined by the Census). Together with the settlements of Ballinrobe, Claremorris, Ballyhaunis and Westport, they accounted for over 90 per cent of urban population change within the County. Analysis of the 2006 Census indicated that in the period 2002–2006, Mayo experienced its most significant population increase since 1926.


The Hasse index of Relative Affluence and Deprivation provides a single measurement of the overall deprivation of an area. The index takes into consideration the social class composition, the level of unemployment and long-term unemployment, the proportion of lone parents, the extent of small farming and the age dependency rate. The deprivation score ranges from 1 to 10 the higher the dependency scores the higher the deprivation. The average deprivation score for Mayo stands at 7 against a national average of 4.65 with 89 DED's having a deprivation score of 9 or 10.

Employment & Enterprise

Economic activity in Mayo has grown significantly in recent years, much of which has been influenced by the dramatic national growth in the economy over the same period. It is estimated that employment increased in Mayo by over 22% between 1996 and 2002, significantly higher than the growth rate of 8.7% between 1990 and 1996. The overall number of people on the Live Register decreased by 10% between 2003 and 2006.

An examination of numbers employed in each broad industrial group in 2002 shows the dominance of the service sector, which employed up to 56% of those employed in the County. The growing importance of the service sector was counterbalanced by the continuing decline in the numbers employed in agriculture with the 2002 Census showing only 11% employed in this sector compared to 22% in 1996. Fifteen per cent were employed in manufacturing industry in 2002

Although agriculture remains an important part of the local economy, its share of economic output and employment continues to decline. Alternative opportunities must be created that will create employment opportunities in alternative or additional rural enterprises to supplement farm incomes and regenerate the rural economy.

The current econmic recession has had a dramatic increase to the number of people on the live register in Mayo. Records show that in December 2010 there were 13,251 on the live register, similar to December 2009 when there were 12,736 people on the live register, but a significant increase from the previous year of 8,769 in December 2008, an increase of 3,967(45.2%). The highest town recordings in Mayo in Decemebr 2010 were in Ballina, with 3,237 and Castlebar, with 2,421 people currently on the live register.

Infrastructural Deficiencies

The peripherality of Mayo County, in national and international terms, is exacerbated by major infrastructural deficiencies, particularly in relation to strategic road and rail connections, telecommunications and energy. These infrastructural deficiencies are a major inhibiting factor in terms of the social and economic development of the County and quality of life in general.

Educational Attainment

Educational attainment among the Mayo population have been improving over recent years. 20.7% of the population of Mayo have educational attainment of primary including no formal, 25.2% have upper secondary level while 11.1% have a third level degree or higher.

Despite the challenging socio-economic factors, volunteering in Mayo, as reported in the 2006 Census results showed that 17,977 people across Mayo County were involved in one or more voluntary activity. This means that 14.5 % of Mayo's adult population (people aged over 15 years) is volunteering in the County of Mayo. Helping or voluntary work with a social or charitable organisation was the highest uptake of volunteering at 36%.


Census 2006

Mayo County Development Plan 2008-2014

Central Statistics Office Live Register Tables



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