Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Registrar General Annual Report 2010

The 2010 Annual Report of the Register Generals Annual Report for 2010 was published today. It provides a wealth of information relating to the demographic make up of Northern Ireland.

Information provided includes births in 2010, deaths in 2010 and as well as information on marriages, divorces and civil partnerships.

Although the report does not determine the community background of those born and deceased in 2010, Appendix 2 provides details of the breakdown of births and deaths by District Council. We know that of Northern Ireland's 26 District Councils can be divided into 11 majority Catholic/Nationalist Districts, 12 majority Protestant/Unionist Districts and 3 evenly balanced Districts (i.e. no community has a greater representation than 55%).

The table below shows the birth and death rates for each District Council in each of the three groups using the data provided in the report

The average bith rate of the Catholic majoity areas in 2010 is 14.4 (per 1,000 population) which is 11.6% higher than the Protestant birth rate of 12.9. The average birth rate in Northern Ireland as a whole was 14.1

The average death rate in Protestant dominated district councils in 2010 was 8.4 (per 1,000 population) compared to 7.1 in Catholic majority district councils which is a greater figure by 18.3%. The average death rate in Northern Ireland as a whole was 8.0.

It must be noted that the three groups in the table are based on the 2001 census and it is likely that some of District Councils actually belong in a different group. For example Lisburn probably belongs in the balanced group. However the 2011 census results will provide the facts.

These trends are consistent over the last number of years as shown by the tables below.


  1. For Dungannon and Craigavon can these birth rates be dismissed because of the high level of immigrant parents or is the local rate still high excluding the immigrant births?

    Regarding Lisburn I agree about putting it in the evenly balanced cat. I personally think that lgds like Antrim and Banbridge will be heading in that general direction especially among the younger families. Even N/Abbey although strongly unionist/loyalist the big jump in the fertility rate here can be attributed to the new developements on the outskirts of Glengormley/Mallusk. These developments have attracted a lot of N. Belfast and country nationalists. I'd say there could be a nearly 10% jump in the nationalist pop in the next census here.

    Again in Lisburn lgd the building going on in Derriaghy will be interesting to see how much a difference it makes in the next census.

  2. It's me again. I also see from the report about the big increases in the ward populations on Derry's Waterside.

    Is the catholic population of Derry moving across the river on a large scale to new developments (are there large new developments being built?)?

    Just asking because I don't know to much about the place and I couldn't imagine too many prods from Limavady\Coleraine moving to Derry.

    If so will be interesting as we've already heard about the 'ethnic cleansing' on the west bank through the papers and will be interesting to the reaction of this if it were the case of the greening of the waterside.

  3. For a Nationalist the only reason to look at the North's demographic change is if it correlates with increased support for unification.

    Despite the rise of persons of a Catholic background, electoral returns have the combined SF/SDLP share of the vote becalmed at around about 42% of the vote.

    Worse again, the latest NI Life and Times Survey puts support for remaining in the UK at a massive 72% and support for unification at just 17%.

    While you can discount some of the antipathy to unification as a consequence of Ireland's economic implosion; even in the boom time of the Celtic Tiger, outright support for unification (again, according to the NI Life and Times Survey) never rose above 25%. Nor did support for remaining within the UK fall below the symbolic 50%.

    Sadly, I think that Nationalists must now reconcile themselves to the fact that demographic change is not going to bring about a Nationalist majority and unification.

    Therefore, to achieve unification, Nationalists have to convince a skeptical public that unification offers them more than partition.

    As long as the UK Exchequer continues to subsidise the North with a £5bn subvention per annum (20% of GDP!) it's hard to see how that argument can be won.

    The North has become a golden cage.

  4. I think you'd do well to look beyond the combined results of SF and the SDLP. If you compare their results for the elections to assembly and councils hld on the same day, there is a big proportion of votes for ind. nationalists and republicans. Votes which (for obvious reasons) didn't go to the nationalist parties in the assembly election.

    I think the actual vote now is closer to 44%. Coupled with that, the unionist vote (including independents) is now floundering at around 47%.

    personally I don't pay too much attention to the demographics either, although it is interesting, and instead see the increasing nationalist support as the main indication of the growing reality that a united ireland is now closer than ever.

  5. you might be interested to see that the monitoring report for 2010 is now available on the equality commission website. Might be a blog entry there for you.


    Link to this years 3 reports so far.

  7. Turn out in Unionist areas is lower. At some point this trend will move to Nationalist areas especially in The West. This fact tends to be ignored when quoting overall Nationalist/Unionist voting figures.

    There is a hierarchy of importance for those favouring Irish Unity:

    (i) Opinion polls. Most important.
    (ii) Seats won in the assembly.
    (iii) Seats won at Westminster.
    (iv) Seats won in councils.
    (v) Nationalist votes in the above.
    (vi) Turn out in the above.