Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time, census data reveals
The proportion of Catholics in Northern Ireland has outnumbered Protestants for the first time, the latest census results have revealed.
Census figures show that Catholics make up 45.7% of the population of Northern Ireland, which is higher than the 43.5% of Protestants.
This was seen for the first time since the partition of Ireland.
Data shows that 1.5% of the population belongs to other non-Christian religions.
The 2011 census recorded 48% of the population as Protestant or High Protestant, down five percentage points from 2001.
Meanwhile, the Catholic population stood at 45% at the last census, up one percentage point from 2001.
Those who do not belong to any religion were recorded at 9.3% in the 2021 census. This figure is up from 5.6% in 2011.
Figures on religion and national identity are part of the second set of data released from the 2021 census.
The first tranche of figures, released in May, focused on the population and the number of households. It showed Northern Ireland’s population had reached an all-time high of over 1.9 million.
The census also included a question on people’s sense of national identity.
The 2021 census showed that 31.9% said they were “exclusively British” and 8% considered themselves “British and Northern Irish”.
The proportion of the population who said they were ‘Irish only’ was 29.1%, while those who identified as ‘Northern Irish only’ was 19.8%.
In the 2011 census, 40% said they had a British-only national identity, 25% said they had an Irish-only identity, and 21% considered their identity to be Northern Irish only.