Saturday, June 1, 2013
Northern Ireland: New figures from the 2011 Census suggest that the Catholic population of the North is set to grow at the expense of the Protestant population
In December 2012, the Census was published, revealing that the Protestant population of Northern Ireland now stood at 48%, while the Catholic population was at 45%. This was the first time that the Protestant population had fallen below 50%, a decline of some ten per cent in twenty years. New figures were also released comparing the 18 Assembly constituencies for Northern Ireland, which showed that the Protestant population is still more likely to be older than the Catholic population, while there is a distinct geographical split between the places where each of the two communities is in a majority. The figures confirm that Protestants are in a majority in the east of Northern Ireland, with the exception of Belfast, while Catholics are in a majority in the west and south. The new Census stats also find that the largest percentage increase in the number of residents from a Catholic community background occurred in Belfast East (73%), followed by Lagan Valley (51%) and South Antrim (26%). There are also significant falls in the Protestant count over the past decade in three of the Belfast constituencies, namely: Belfast North (15%), Belfast South (13%) and Belfast East (11%). It is also estimated that 95,000 Protestants and 46,000 Catholics died between 2001 and 2011. There was a total of 89,000 Protestant births and 118,000 Catholic births over the same period.