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More Catholics than Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time

The 2011 census still recorded 48 per cent of Northern Ireland as Protestant, down five percentage points from 2001. Currently, 1.5 percent of the population belong to other non-Christian religions. 9.3 percent of citizens said they did not belong to any religion, 5.6 percent more than in 2011.

record population

The religion and national identity figures are part of the second round of data to be released from the 2021 census. According to data released in May Northern Ireland a record population of more than 1.9 million citizens. Furthermore, 31.9 percent of those surveyed in 2021 said they were “only British”; 8 percent described themselves as “British and Northern Irish”. 29.1 percent considered themselves “only Irish”; 19.8 percent identified themselves as “only Northern Irish”.

In the 2011 census, five years before the Brexit vote, 40 percent still described themselves as “purely British”. 25 percent spoke of a purely Irish, 21 percent of an exclusively Northern Irish identity.

In response to the results, Sinn Fein MP John Finucane called on the Irish government to prepare for the “possibility of a unity referendum,” the Belfast Telegraph (Thursday) reports. The division of Ireland was a “failure,” said Finucane. The results of the census are “another clear indication that historical change is taking place on this island and that the diversity of society enriches us all”. (KNA)

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