According to the 1996 Census, there are almost forty two thousand people living in the County, 21,086 males and 20,530 females.
The major urban centres are Carlow town with a population of just over eleven thousand, Bagenalstown (Muinebeag) with 2,573, and Tullow with 2,277.
There are also several smaller towns and villages - Hacketstown, Borris, Rathvilly, Leighlinbridge, Kernanstown, Tinryland, Ballon and Tinnahinch.
The county is joined with neighbouring County Kilkenny, making up the constituency of Carlow/Kilkenny for general election purposes. The constituency is represented by five Dail deputies, only one of which is based in County Carlow. The constituency also has a member of the Senate based in Carlow.
Carlow County Council with twenty one members is the main local authority in the county. For local elections the county is split into local electoral areas. In the past those areas were Carlow town area, which elected seven councillors, Bagenalstown area which elected five, Tullow area which elected five and Borris area which elected four.
For the local elections in June 1999 the electoral areas changed. There now are five, with the Carlow area being split in two - Carlow No.1 and Carlow No.2.
Bagenalstown and Tullow areas continue to be represented by five councillors each. The Borris area is now represented by three, Carlow No.1 will have three and Carlow No.2 have five councillors.
The other local authorities in the county are Carlow Urban District Council, which looks after the affairs of Carlow town and has nine members, and Bagenalstown Town Commission, which also has nine members.
Elections also took place to fill these seats in June 1999.
Several political parties enjoy the support of the public in Ireland, and members of all the local authorities in County Carlow belong to one or other of them.
In the Dail, the Carlow/Kilkennny Constituency is represented by two members of Fianna Fail, two members of Fine Gael and one member of the Labour Party.
Carlow County Council is made up of members of five political parties. Fianna Fail hold nine seats, Fine Gael seven, the Labour Party three and one each for the Progressive Democrats and the Green Party.
Carlow Urban District Council is made up of three members of Fianna Fail, three members of Fine Gael, two members of the Labour Party and one member of the Progressive Democrats.
Fianna Fail holds the balance of power on Bagenalstown Town Commission with six seats, Fine Gael have two seats and the Labour Party has one seat.
Copyright(c) Jarlath Judge 1999.