NI census figures revealed

Published Tuesday, 11 December 2012
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The latest findings from the 2011 census show how a shared identity is emerging in the region, as one in five people describe themselves as Northern Irish.

Last year's census marked the first time people were asked about their national identity.

Participants could select more than one nationality. The NI Statistics and Research Agency shows 29% of people chose Northern Irish.

Almost half of people in Northern Ireland (48%) described themselves as British, while 28% said they were Irish.

The figures published on Tuesday also show 45% of people say they are Catholic - a slight rise since the 2001 census.

The proportion of people who say they are or were brought up Protestant has fallen by 5% to 48%.

Just over 5% of people in Northern Ireland said they do not belong to any religion.

The figures also show the region's elderly population is rising, with 15% of people over 65, while the number of young people (under 16) fell to about one fifth.

And although one in five of the population are living with a long-term health problem or disability that limits their daily activities, 80% said they have a good level of health.

Close to one third of people over 16 have no qualifications, but 24% in the same age range have at least a degree, the statistics reveal.

Also in the 2011 census are details on the number of minority ethnic groups in the region, which have doubled in the past ten years, rising from 0.8% to 1.8%.

The Dungannnon district had the highest rate of population growth, standing at more than one fifth compared to 7.5% average across NI.

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said the census was about "much more than a sectarian headcount or even national identity."

"The lazy assumption that demographics equates to either national identity or political choice should now be laid to rest forever."

The north Belfast MP added: "The overall picture in terms of national identity is one where a clear majority of people are content with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland at present."

He continued by saying those considering themselves Northern Irish come from all sections of the community, before adding that it "underscores the point highlighted by the First Minister that a significant section of our population should not be written off as being off-limits for unionism."

Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said that a border poll would provide "a definitive result."

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"It's very clear that there has been significant changes since the 2001 census both regarding identity and religious persuasion.

"There will be claims and counter-claims of what this represents when it comes to the constitutional position of the North and what the population are for or against."

The Newry and Armagh MP continued: "Nationalists and Republicans are confident about building a new future based on equality and we see a united Ireland as the best way of ensuring equality for all.

"We are confident in the rationale behind our arguments and of the absolute logic of Irish reunification. If Unionists are confident in their own arguments for retaining the union then they will have nothing to fear with a border poll."
© UTV News
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39 Comments
WTF in Ards wrote (489 days ago):
Hey Ryan, Peter, Michael, Patto69....how does this figure compute with your republican mindset....75%, yes 75%, of the population of Northern Ireland do not consider themselves Irish...75%.....UI....not for a while lads yets, oh dear.
S.B. in Belfast wrote (489 days ago):
Stop deluding yourself William and take your head out of the sand. Like the flag vote at City Hall it will be democracy and the ballot box that will dictate a United Ireland. It doesn't matter if you shake your head, stamp your feet, scream NO at the top of your voice, say LA LA LA with your fingers in your ears, turn around 3 times and take to the streets waving Union Jacks it will happen. If, in a border poll, 50% + 1 vote YES for unity then the wheels will be put in motion and no amount of NO SURRENDER cries and protests will stop it. Be under no illusion the population numbers show that there WILL be a border poll within the next 20/30 years and definate unity within 50. I would nearly put my house on Britain, Ireland, the E.U. and U.S. having already discussed this and plans being put in place to finance it and deal with any Unionist/Loyalist fallout and dissent. A United Ireland is a done deal in the long run and like a glacier cutting through a mountain, completely unstoppable!
Ryan in Belfast wrote (489 days ago):
@JD in Belfast: JD, maybe we know something you dont ;)
william in coleraine wrote (489 days ago):
northern ireland relies on handouts from london as it is, the UK is self sufficent even though its in a lot of debt itself, uniting with the south would mean the people who destroyed their economy would inherit another economy, so the state that takes huge handouts would unite with a state that takes even bigger handouts? whos going to pay for that i wonder, the price of living in the south is atrocious, why would the southerners want us? 'the black north' as they call us,
JD in Belfast wrote (489 days ago):
It really is amazing how people read the same statistics and come up with a COMPLETELY different slant on the future. There is a difference between qualitative data and quantitative data. "28% said they were Irish". So Basically a quarter - how on earth is this the indefinite sign of a united Ireland?!?! 29% chose Northern Irish (as I would) and that percentage has increased dramatically in recent years. If there were better jobs, schools and hospitals down south I may be convinced it's a utopia like many of you think....but there isn't! Try living down there and you'll soon realise how good you have it up here.
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