Long-term demographic traits counsel Census 2021 may be the primary within the historical past of the area to record extra Catholics than Protestants throughout the population.
The 2011 Census 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% within the last census, up one share point on 2001.
The publication of the census historically prompts debate over what the figures may imply for the constitutional way forward for Northern Ireland.
Some may search to draw a direct hyperlink between the non secular breakdown and public opinion on the potential reunification of Ireland.
However, critics of that method view non secular affiliation as a crude metric to measure sentiment on the constitutional query, insisting that simply because somebody is Protestant or Catholic doesn’t essentially imply their respective political outlooks are unionist or nationalist.
In that respect, extra emphasis may be positioned on the census figures on national identity.
That query was included within the census for the primary time in 2011, when 40% said they’d a British solely national identity, 25% said they’d an Irish solely identity and 21% considered their identity as being solely Northern Irish.
Under the phrases of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement peace deal, the constitutional standing of Northern Ireland can be modified solely with the consent of its population.