The 2011 NI Census results have been published, as in the rest of the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland most people are only interested in one statistic, the number of Roman Catholics’ over members of the main Protestant denominations’. It is therefore viewed as a mini border poll.
However we will have to wait a bit longer to see this result as the results have not been published in full. One would expect a change in the balance, but nothing spectacular in line with what Sinn Fein would have wanted in the run up to 2016.
The headline result is that the population of Northern Ireland has increased yet again and currently stands at 1.81 million, females are currently in the majority, making up 51% of the population and the average age has risen from 34 to 37 years.The number of people aged over 85 years of age has also risen by 35% since 2001 (the last census). The latter result ties in with expectations; we have a increasing ageing population. All of this means that we will continue to see further pressure on resources we receive from Westminster and services, such as health and social care. With people getting older we have less people to pay for all this. The results also show that the size of households is on the decrease, with fewer births and an ageing population.
What will be interesting to see is how much the migrant population has risen since 2001, with an influx of Polish and Romanian migrants for example, who also make up a significant part of our labour force.
The results, published albeit partly, here in Northern Ireland mirror what is happening elsewhere in the UK, with the population of England and Wales on the rise. Births in England and Wales accounted for 44% of the increase in population while the remainder accounted for migration, which increasingly remains a hot political issue in Great Britain. Official estimates put a population rise much lower than the actual total figure meaning that Government statistics on migration are not necessarily accurate. This will no doubt lead to some punches being thrown over the despatch boxes with the blame resting with Labour.
The Census results published today can be viewed at: http://www.nisra.gov.uk/Census/2011_results.html
Update: I contacted the Census team and have been informed that further results will be released in September 2012 on a phased basis. Religious statistics to be released in second phase (from November 2012 to February 2013). The output prospectus can be viewed at: http://www.nisra.gov.uk/Census/2011CensusProposedOutputs.html
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