Diverse and ageing Cork city faces tough challenges

Indepth data reveals the truth about the second largest city in the State, writes Noel Baker.

IT is a tale of one city, but with numerous chapters about its people, places, and life chances.

The Cork City Profile 2014, an in-depth collection of previously published data about the country’s second-largest city, paints a picture of Leeside as a diverse, if ageing city in which where and how you live appear to influence your life opportunities.

For one thing, its population has been shrinking. According to the 2011 Census, the city’s population fell slightly at a time when it increased by 8.2% nationally and the population of Co Cork rose by more than 10%.

Of 34 Administrative Counties in Ireland, Cork City had the highest death rate of them all. Its infant mortality rate is higher than that of Co Cork, but on a par with the national rate.

The number of older people relative to the working population is high, and with an average age for its citizens of 38.7, it got ‘older’ by a year between the 2006 and 2011 censuses. In addition, 15% of those over the age of 15 are retired.

Economically, the recession has left its mark, mainly in the near-doubling of the unemployment rate to more than 12% between 2006 and 2011.

There are also divisions within the city. According to the study, “areas in the southwest and in the more affluent southeast generally have lower levels of unemployment. Unemployment is higher in all four RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) areas. North of the city centre, unemployment black spots are contained within the Knocknaheeny, Glen, Gurranabraher, Mayfield, Fair Hill, and Farranferris electoral divisions”.

There is also a divide in education, “with areas north of Cork City [centre] generally having lower education levels”. In terms of housing, there is a high concentration of social housing in or close to RAPID-designated areas and in general, Cork City has almost twice as many houses without central heating than the average for the State. According to the report: “RAPID areas suffer disproportionately from deprivation, as well as the northside more generally. Areas around Turners Cross and Ballyphehane south of the River Lee also have pockets of deprivation,” while parts of Fair Hill, Farranferris, Knocknaheeny, and Gurranabraher fare least well in the Trutz-Haase Deprivation Index.

In terms of health, many of the same areas have a higher percentage of residents with ‘fair’, ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’ general health. You are also more likely to have smoked if you live on the northside.

On the plus side, Cork’s manufacturing sector is described as “resilient”, and its role as an industrial and employment centre pulls in commuters, thousands each day from places like Carrigaline, Cobh and Midleton. Cork also has more students than the national average, the report finds, citing the influence of UCC and CIT on the general socioeconomic character of the city, serving more than 35,000 students. “The overall trends in the city are towards a more educated population,” the report states, with pupil/teacher ratios and special-needs provision better than national averages. More than half of children in the city play routinely after school.

Tomás Kelly, lead researcher and one of the co-authors of the report, was keen to avoid making direct comparisons between the north and south sides of the city.

“There is a lot of diversity in the northside and there is a lot of highly educated people with great jobs doing great things for the economy,” he said. “But when you look at specific indicators of deprivation, and unemployment specifically, it is apparent that the northside is suffering more, and in particular in relation to educational disadvantage as well. There is a big difference between the scenario of north and south of the River Lee, as aggregates.

“A very strong point is the link between social inclusion, deprivation and health,” he said. “If you are coming from a disadvantaged background, you are at more risk of [poor] health outcomes, more at risk of being excluded — the interplay between those three would be one of the core messages.”

Cork City chief executive Ann Doherty said the local authority was focused on supporting RAPID areas and stressed that many communities that had faced struggles in recent years had “come a long way”.

“Our citizens in the northside of Cork City are continuing to experience challenges in allowing them to fulfil their potential,” she said.

“That is not new information but I do think this [report] helps us to refocus and be steadfast in our policy development.”

Rebecca Loughrey of the HSE said: “I think overall, we are a healthy city. There is a lot of good work going on in Cork. We know there are areas in Cork that are very disadvantaged and we need to redouble our efforts in those areas, but it also shows there is a base of very good inter-agency work.”

She referred to Health Action Zones in RAPID areas that have taken an inter-agency approach to involve local people in boosting health among the local population, with positive results — such as the 70% take-up in some areas for the national cancer screening programme.

It is hoped the city profile exercise will be repeated following the next census, which would allow what Ms Doherty described as a “tool kit” for planning to be updated to meet the needs of its citizens.

TRANSPORT AND THE ENVIRONMENT: 1-in-3 drive to work, school or college

Serious flooding affected areas like St Patrick’s Street in Cork City. Picture: Dan Linehan

* Car ownership is 68.2% versus national average of 82.4%.

* Carrigaline has highest number of daily commuters at 2,945 workers, followed by Cobh (1,737), Midleton (1,600) Passage West (1,309) and Carrigtwohill (1,132).

* Over one in three (33.8%) drive to work, school or college.

* 33.9% walk or cycle to work, school or college.

* Public transport usage is less than the national average (9.1% versus 12.9%).

* 17.3% of people take at least 30 minutes to get to their place of work, school or college — one in four leave between 7.30am and 8am.

* There has been an average of 628.6 collisions per annum between 2005 and 2012 — 87.3% of which were minor.

* Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, lead, and benzene levels all fell within regulatory limits in the monitoring period examined in the 2011 report Air Pollution.

* There were 46,290 tonnes of household waste collected in Cork City in 2011, representing 3.3% of all collected waste in Ireland.

* 65.6% of household waste (25,025 tonnes) is sent to the landfill in Cork City, which does not compare favourably with the county proportion of 62.9% (49,470 tonnes).

* 34.4% of city waste is sent for recycling, compared to 37.2% of Cork County’s waste.

* Serious flooding occurred in 2009, 2012 and 2014, causing significant damage to the city and its businesses.

* With sea levels estimated to rise between 15 and 33 cm by 2050 and precipitation estimated to increase by between 10% and 20% over the same period, the frequency and severity of flooding in the city is likely to increase.

HEALTH: Over 21,000 live with a disability

There were 4,891 cancer cases in the period from 2007 to 2011. Picture: Provision

* There are 21,098 persons living with a disability — 17.7% of the population.

* 35% of those with a disability are over 65 — 6% are in the 0 to 14 age group.

* 5,332 persons are classified as carers — 4.5% of the population of the city. 60% of carers are women.

* In 2010, 12.3% of the population were diagnosed as having hypertension; 2.3% were diagnosed with angina or with having had a heart attack; 0.7% with having had a stroke and 3.1% were with diabetes. There were 4,891 cancer cases in the period from 2007 to 2011.

* There was a decline in the number of cases of TB for Cork and Kerry at 68 as of 2013, though TB rates for the HSE South have consistently been above national rates for undetermined reasons.

* The number of suicides in the city per 100,000 population has reduced from 20.1 in 2006 to 10.9 in 2011.

* The rates for females went from 3.3 in 2006 to 7.7 in 2010 and back to 3.3 in 2011.

* While the rates for males remain significantly higher, it steadily fell from 37.6 in 2006 to 27.8 in 2010, and 18.7 in 2011.

* The rates for deliberate self-harm for males in 2011 — at 484 per 100,000 — was more than twice the national rate (a relative increase of 83% since 2007).

* The rate for female deliberate self-harm increased by 41% to over 350 incidences per 100,000 in the time period.

ECONOMY: Jobless rate almost doubled to 12.1% in 5 years

Unemployment blackspots are mainly in the northside.

* There are 55,328 people in the labour force in the city — 30,323 men and 25,005 women.

* Between 2006 and 2011, the percentage of the population aged 15 or older that were classified as ‘unemployed or looking for their first regular job’ grew from 6.3% to 12.1%.

* The number of people employed in building and construction decreased by 55.8% over the same period.

* Unemployment blackspots are contained within the Knocknaheeny, Glen, Gurranabraher, Mayfield, Fair Hill and Farranferris areas.

* As of April 2014, there were 16,003 persons on the Live Register in Cork City, 2,332 of whom were under the age of 25.

* 1,444 (61.9%) of those unemployed were males and 888 (38.1%) were females.

* Manufacturing is the third most common industry in the city, employing 13.5% of the population at work (18% of males).

* Women are over three times as likely to be employed in caring, leisure and other service occupations (11.8%) and administrative and secretarial occupations (14%).

* The proportion of females in sales and customer service (14.4%) is nearly twice as large as the proportion of males (7.6%), which is broadly reflective of national proportions.

* 4.9% of women and 6.7% of men are employed as managers, directors and senior officials. This makes men 36.7% more likely to be employed in these roles in the city.

DEPRIVATION: Poverty indicators below the national average

31% of households in the city have no PC.

In relation to indicators of poverty and deprivation, Cork City is worse than the national averages in relation to:

* Old-age dependency ratio (21.4% versus 17.4% nationally).

* Lone-parent families (24% in Cork versus 18.3% nationally).

* One-person households (29.3% in Cork versus a 23.7% nationally).

* Households without central heating (2.6% in Cork versus 1.6% nationally).

* Households without a personal computer (31.6% in Cork versus a 25.1% national figure).

* Households without internet access (30.4% in Cork versus 25.8% nationally).

* Households rented from local authority (15.4% in Cork versus 7.8% nationally).

* Population with fair, bad or very bad general health (12.5% in Cork versus 9.5% nationally).

* Population with a disability (17.7% in Cork versus 13% nationally).

* Cork City fares better than the State as a whole in relation to its age-dependency ratio (42.3% in Cork versus 49.3% nationally) and youth-dependency ratio (20.9% in Cork versus 31.9% nationally).

* There is a lack of local/small area level data on the distribution of poverty in the city which presents a particular challenge to researchers and policy makers.

* Proportion of lone-parent families in the city is 24% — higher than the state proportion of 18.3%.

* Levels of access to a personal computer are lower in disadvantaged areas — at around 50%.

DIVERSITY: Minority groups and the new Irish

Glenvera is the only Direct Provision Accommodation Centre within the city centre boundaries.

* There are 14,611 non-Irish nationals in Cork, comprising 12.5% the population.

* The highest percentage of non-nationals are Polish (29%) and British (13%).

* The highest concentration of non-nationals is in the city centre, Shandon Street, Blackpool and around Cork University Hospital.

* There were 682 people in the five Direct Provision Accommodation Centres in the county of Cork as of December 2013.

* Glenvera on the Wellington Road, is the only Direct Provision Accommodation Centre within the city bounds and has 105 residents

* The Kinsale Road Direct Provision Accommodation Centre has the highest number of residents (252).

* 51.5% of those accommodated in the centres were male, 48.5% were female and 19.3% were children.

* There are an estimated 40 Roma families in Cork, representing between 300 and 400 people.

* 1,910 people in the city speak English either ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’. This represents 1.6% of the overall population

* There were an estimated 789 members of the Traveller community in the city as of 2011. These groups are concentrated in Mahon, Hollyhill, Ballyvolane and Cork Business Park.

* There are an estimated 12,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the city.

HOUSING: 47,163 housing units, up 7%

32.5% of housing units are occupied by an owner without a mortgage. Picture: Denis Scannell

* There are 47,163 housing units in the city, an increase of 7.5% since 2006.

* 37.7% of housing units in the city were built in or before 1960 — compared with 23.8% nationally.

* There are approximately 50% more flats or apartments (7,767) in the city than the State.

* There are 8,045 unoccupied housing units in the city, representing 14.5% of the overall housing stock.

* In the city, almost one in three houses are rented privately in comparison to less than one in five for the State. These are concentrated in the City Centre and along Western Road.

* 20.7% of housing units in the city are occupied by an owner with a mortgage. This has declined from 27.2% in 2002.

* 32.5% of housing units are occupied by an owner without a mortgage. The highest concentrations of these units are to be found in Browningstown in Douglas, Bishopstown, Tramore Road, Ballinlough and Turner’s Cross, all of which are located south of the River Lee.

* 15.4% (7,260 housing units) are local authority rentals and these are highly concentrated in Knocknaheeny, Mayfield, The Glen, Gurranabraher and Blackpool.

* At 2.6%, there are almost twice as many houses without central heating in the city versus the State.

EDUCATION: 24.3% over 15 have degree

Some 24.3% of those aged over 15 years have an ordinary level degree, national diploma or higher. Picture: Denis Scannell

* Of those over 15 years of age:

— 16.6% have primary education or less;

— 18.6% have lower secondary;

— 19% ha;ve upper secondary

— 24.3% have an ordinary level degree, national diploma or higher;

— 7.2% have a Technical or Vocational Qualification;

— 4.4% have an Advanced Certificate or Complete Apprenticeship and 3.7% have a Higher Certificate.

* Areas of the northside generally have lower education levels than the southside.

* Women more likely to gravitate towards Social and Humanities-based qualifications.

* Men are more likely to qualify in science and technical disciplines.

* The city has 51 national schools and 18 secondary schools.

* Pupil/teacher ratios, special needs and truancy levels are all better than the national averages.

LIFESTYLE AND BEHAVIOURS: Wide disparity in smoking rates

The percentage of people who have never smoked was significantly higher in Cork South Lee (47%).

* Boys and girls aged 5 and 8 spent 18% of their time during the week on play, according to 2007 figures.

* 55% of this age group routinely played outsideafter school.

* 22% of men and 23% of women smoke. However, the percentage of people who have never smoked was significantly higher in Cork South Lee (47%) compared to Cork North Lee (38%).

* 821 cases accessed treatment for alcohol in the city in 2012. Of this group: 507 cases were male and 310 cases were women. 96 cases were under the age of 18.

* 182 people in Cork North Lee and 153 people in Cork South Lee received treatment for cannabis abuse.

* 111 people in Cork North Lee and 96 people in Cork South Lee received treatment for opiate abuse.

* 73 people in Cork North Lee and 45 people in Cork South Lee received treatment for benzodiazepine abuse.

* 26 people in Cork North Lee and 23 people in Cork South Lee received treatment for cocaine abuse.

FAMILIES: Average family and household settings

* 31.6% of households are two-person.

* 29.3% are one person.

* The number of co-habiting couples with children grew from 1.6% to 2.3% between 2006 and 2011.

* The average number of persons per family household is two (48.1% versus 39.8% nationally).

* 23.2% of families have three children.

* In 2011, there were 28,235 family units in the city.

* 24% of families have a lone parent as head of the household.

DEMOGRAPHY: Deaths higher than average

* As of 2011, there were 119,230 people living in the city (58,812 males and 60,418 females).

* In 2012, the number of births recorded was 1,431 (705 females and 726 males).

* There were 45 births to women under the age of 20 in 2012.

* Infant mortality rates in the city (3.5 deaths per 1,000 live birth) are higher than the rates for the county (3.3 deaths per 1,000 live birth).

* 1,139 deaths were registered in 2012.

* 57.8% of the population are single, 31.8% are married, 4.9% are separated or divorced and 5.4% are widowed.

* There are 83,783 persons of working age (15 to 64) living in the city, representing 70.3% of its population.

* The average in the city is 38.7.

* Almost one in three people over 65 lived alone in 2011 (29.8%).

* In 2010, the life expectancy in the city was 73.9 for males and 79.8 for females.

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