Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time since the partition of the island, census figures present.

The Census 2021 figures, published on Thursday, present that 45.7% of the area’s population said they had been both Catholic or introduced up as a Catholic.

The figures for Protestants (and other Christian faiths) was 43.5% whereas 1.5% had been from non-Christian religions.

Northern Ireland had a big Protestant majority when it was established in 1921 as a part of the partition of Ireland.

  • 2001 – 44%
  • 2011 – 45%
  • 2021 – 45.7%

The last census, in 2011, recorded 48% of the population as being both Protestant or introduced up Protestant, down 5 share factors on 2001.The Catholic population stood at 45% 11 years in the past, up one share point on 2001.

The 2021 Census confirmed 9.3% of the population belonged to no faith – up from 5.6% in 2011.

The publication of the census historically prompts debate over what the figures imply for the constitutional way forward for Northern Ireland.

Some may draw a hyperlink between the non secular breakdown and public opinion on the potential reunification of Ireland.

Others view non secular affiliation as a crude metric to measure sentiment on the constitutional query, insisting that being a Protestant or Catholic doesn’t essentially translate into unionist or nationalist politics.

In that respect, extra emphasis may be positioned on the census figures on national identification.

  • 2001 – 53%
  • 2011 – 48%
  • 2021 – 43.5%

Census 2021 confirmed that 31.9% said they had been “British-only” and eight% deemed themselves “British and Northern Irish”.

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