Divorce rates in Ireland
Category: Best data-driven reporting (small and large newsrooms)
Organisation: The Irish Times
Organisation size: Big
Publication date: 21/05/2019
Credit: Nora-Ide McAuliffe
In the run up to the referendum on divorce in Ireland in May 2019, this project set out to look at rates of divorce in Ireland since 2000, four years after divorce was legalised in 1996. Before the May referendum (which passed), to apply for a divorce, couples had to be living apart for four of the five previous years and the 2019 referendum asked voters if they wish to remove this condition or keep it in the constitution.
The impact of the project was that it showed readers what the rate of divorce was really like in Ireland and showed the counties with the highest and lowest rates of divorce from 2000-2017. This gave voters greater context around divorce in Ireland in the lead up to the referendum. It also highlighted to readers the divorce rate in their own county from 2016-17 and the number of applications received to give them a snapshot of divorce in their own area. It also informed people of the number of divorce applications from 2000-2017 to see how the numbers have fluctuated over time.
For this project I used divorce data collected by the Court Service of Ireland and used Google Sheets to create the database and to carry out the analysis. I also used population data from the Central Statics Office in order to calculate the rate of divorce per 1000 population in each county.
What was the hardest part of this project?
This was a relatively straightforward data story that did not include many challenging elements.
What can others learn from this project?