According to the Census of 1841, the population of the county was as high as 295,000. Historians would now say that this was a conservative figure, taking into account the difficulties involved in enumerating remote geographic locations and the reluctance of the population to co-operate in logging their existence, but let us take it as the accepted figure for 1841. To-day (or more correctly in the 2011 Census) it is half the 1841 figure.
By 1851, the population of the county was 238,254 – a decrease of 55,624 in ten years. Most of this decrease took place during the Famine period between deaths and emigration.
By 1901- the Census taken that year gives us figure of 165,726
In 1911 the census was recording a decline to just 159,651 people.
In 2011 the population of the county was recorded as 145,502 – almost exactly half that of 1841
The National Archives tell us ‘The scale of emigration from the county means that the story of Kerry in 1911 is, in some measure, the story of those who no longer lived there. Kerry had the highest annual rate of emigration from Ireland in the twenty years up to 1911. According to the 1841 census, the population of the county was as high as 295,000. By 1911, the census was recording a decline to just 160,000 people. Even since the previous census had been taken in 1901, the population had fallen by more than 6,000, and it would continue to fall for much of the twentieth century. Many of those who left ended up in Kerry enclaves in the cities of England and America.’