Key Facts

Death and dying in Ireland

  • An average of 28,000 deaths occur in Ireland each year
  • Some 10 people are directly affected by each death – at least 28,000 are bereaved annually
  • Two-thirds of those who die are over 65 years of age
  • More than 70% of people die outside their own homes, and around 48% die in acute hospitals
  • Although research shows that most people would prefer to die at home, only one in four actually does
  • Almost 1,400 children are estimated to be  living with life-limiting illness, and over 350 die before their 18th birthday each year
  • It is estimated that by 2016, some 12,500 people will need access to hospice/palliative care.


  • Though most people adjust to bereavement over time with the support of family & friends, evidence tells us that between 15% and 20% of people may develop complications.
  • In 2011, 42%  of a sample of Irish adults surveyed by Amarach Consulting for the Irish Hospice Foundation answered ‘yes’ to the question: Has anyone close to you died within the last two years?  This equates to just under 1.5 million people.  
  • In our  survey, a significant number of people were surprised by their reactions to loss – 47% were surprised by the intensity of their grief, and only 37% agreed that the experience was as they would have expected.  
  • 20% of people said they did not get the support they needed during  their most recent bereavement.


  • Seven-in-ten Irish adults do not have a will
  • Irish women (60%) are more diligent than men (53%) about updating their will
  • Half (48%) of married or cohabiting couples in Ireland have not updated their will in the last 2-5 years
  • Just over half (53%) of Irish people with children have a will

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