Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Census results - First Release - Phase 2

Phase 2 of the census results were published today. The results are effectively a breakdown of Phase 1 results by Local Government Districts (LGD). While today's publication does not give us a breakdown by community background, we can nonetheless break each LGD into Majority Nationalist (>55% CNR community background), Majority Unionist (>55% PUL communtiy background) and Balanced (both CNR & PUL community background 45%-55%) areas based on the 2001 census results.

Catholic majority areas have increased in population by an average of 9.2%. Protestant majority areas have increased in population by an average of 7.4%. Balanced areas have increased by 5.1%. Of course the LGDs in the tables above rely on the 2001 census which is ten years out of date. It is likely that some LGDs belong in a different group. For example the next batch of census results may show that Lisburn is a balanced LGD and at least one of the LGDs in the balanced areas group will have changed to the Catholic Majority group.

The phase 2 results also give us a breakdown of the population per LGD by age. In Nationalist districts west of the Bann and close to the border, the population is predominantly young.  This is demonstrated in the chart below showing the proportion of 0-15 year olds in each district as a percentage of the overall population.

In Unionist districts to the east, the population is predominantly old. This is demonstrated in the charts below showing the proportion of 65-84 year olds and over 85 year olds in each district as a percentage of the overall population.

Phase 2 of the 2011 census tells us that population growth in CNR community background areas is greater than in PUL community background areas. It also tell us that the CNR districts have predominantly young populations whereas the PUL districts have predominantly elderly populations. While I am uncomfortable speaking of the passing of elderly people in positive terms, it is only natural that as the older generation die off they will be replaced by children of the younger generation. Interesting times ahead.


  1. Excellent analysis.

    re. "For example the next batch of census results may show that Lisburn is a balanced LGD and at least one of the LGDs in the balanced areas group will have changed to the Catholic Majority group."

    What % change is required for Lisburn to switch to balanced?

    When does the headcountery start in earnest.

  2. I would've had Antrim council down as a balanced area ahead of Lisburn. Unionism now only returns a bare majority. And there's only one more unionist than non-unionist. Antrim also has a couple of GAA and ex-SDLP candidates whose surpluses went almost lock stock to the SDLP. I'm going say that Prot. comm. backg. is now below 55% as it was only 56% in 2001. Catholic comm. backg. may be close but not quite 45%. I'll stick my neck out and say it is then; and thus a balanced area.

    Lisburn is a little further away but changing more rapidly.


  3. Have to agree about Antrim council. As everybody knows about the 'invasion' and non stop developments in Crumlin and also changes in the Randalstown area.

    I take it the massive new developments near Junction 1 are mixed?


  4. The big interest I should think is in the 0-3 age band. If you look at N'Abbey it only increased by 6% but there has been an 18% increase in babies. Banbridge had an 25% increase while Ballymoney only had a 10% increase even though overall its population increased by 16%.

    The usual areas of Mid Ulster and Armagh also showed the % of babies per population.


  5. Charlie you may well be right about Antrim district being more likely to change to the balanced group than Lisburn. In 2001 Antrim had a catholic population of 39% so a swing of 6% would be required to bring it to 45%. Oakleaf perhaps you could expand on 'the invasion'?

    Lisburn needs a swing of 12% (FAO Sammy) but I am told that demographic change is more rapid here.

    Interestingly enough Ballymoney and Banbridge had a 32% & 31% Catholic population respectively in 2001 but I dont see these areas remaining anything but PUL for the medium term.

    Armagh (49% catholic in 2001), Belfast (47% catholic in 2001) and Craigavon (45% catholic in 2001) districts are best placed to move to the Catholic majority group.

    Please feel free to describe any demograhic change to these districts which you may have noticed on the ground i.e. housing developments, migration patterns etc.

  6. Invasion of west and north Belfast into south Antrim. Crumlin as already said and also the developments in the Mallusk ward. These are Mayfield, Alyesbury, Blackrock, Dermont and Rogan Manor. There still building at Alyesbury and Blackrock with plans for several hundred new homes in the Hightown area nearly finished.

    I agree with you about Banbridge and Ballymoney will be unionist for the long term anyhow though i can see the town of Banbridge getting more Catholic. I know of several people who have decided to make it home.

    When is ward info released?


  7. Oakleaf, further release information can be found here

     First release – Phase 1 16 July 2012: Population by age and sex for Northern Ireland
     Phase 2 19 September 2012: Population by age and sex for Local Government Districts
     Second release November 2012 – February 2013: Key and Quick statistics
     Third release March ‐ June 2013: Local Characteristics
     Fourth release July ‐ October 2013: Detailed Characteristics and Detailed

  8. Apart from Dungannon and Craigavon keep an eye out for North Ballymena, Armagh, Antrim town and south and east Belfast for sizeable migrant populations.


  9. I can see Banbridge area changing at a quick rate over the next five years as it's rapidly filling up with RC's from Lurgan, Newry and Belfast - being handy to the A1 it's an attractive commute.

  10. Enda,
    I've linked to you on my blog as you have nailed this fast and accurate.
    Can you email me when you have a moment, I have something you may be interested in and due to a laptop FU I have lost your mail address, many thanks

  11. Congrats on all the good work. Just one thing, shouldn't it read: Protestant majority areas have increased in population by an average of 7.0%. Balanced areas have increased by 5.1%.

  12. Thanks for pointing out the error NN. Fixed now :)

  13. Predominantly not predominately.

    It would be good to see a graph showing projected possible bottom line figures -- green line rising with shaded zone of uncertainty, orange falling, likewise for neither / unknown.

    On the face of it the growth differential seems small and likely to converge. Nevertheless, they provide indicative ranges for extrapolation and projections of possible crossover dates.

  14. I,m interested to know how you arrived at your figures.
    I get 7.7% for Protestant areas, 9.4% for Catholic areas and 8.6% for balanced areas.
    I arrive at these figures by adding together the percetage for each council in the sub group and dividing by the number of councils.

    For example; Balanced
    Armargh 9.2
    Belfast 1.3
    Craigavon 15.3
    So 9.2 + 1.3 + 15.3 = 25.8
    25.8 divided by 3 = 8.6%
    Am i missing something here?
    Irish Aussie

  15. The Balanced group increased in population by 20,900. 20,900/412,400 x 100 = 5.1% increase.