Limerick after the downturn: contemporary demographic & socio-economic geography of the urban area
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This is the third in a series of census atlases of Limerick produced over the course of the last decade by the Department of Geography in Mary Immaculate College, under commission by Limerick City Council. The latest version of the atlas uses data from the 2011 census of population to once again present a comprehensive profile of the demographic, economic and social geography of the Limerick urban area. The previous profile, based on the 2006 census of population, provided a snapshot of the urban area at the ‘high water mark’of the Celtic Tiger boom, following an extended period of economic expansion characterised in its latter stages by a major building boom1. Much has changed since then in the national economy and in the public finances. In terms of the economic fundamentals, the years 2006-2011 constituted a very difficult period for the country as a whole. Gross national product contracted by 7 per cent2, while the number of persons on the live register increased by 184 per cent to 440,0003, and estimated emigration by 124 per cent to 80,6004. The economicdownturn was associated with (though not the main cause of) a major crisis in the public finances, with government spending reduced by 8 per cent between 2006 and 20115. The scale of the reduction has been such that every area of public spending has been affected. While the downturn has continued beyond 2011, and indeed may persist for some time yet,the census of that year nevertheless provides us with the first chance to establish a comprehensive overview of the local effects of the crisis as it has played out in the individual neighbourhoods and communities that make up the city.