Wednesday, February 26, 2014

School Census 2013/2014

Each year the Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) releases it's Schools Census relating to students of nursery, primary, post primary and special schools in the North. This years census was published on the 25th of February. The census data includes a breakdown of the religion of the students. The correlation between religion and voting patters is very strong. Today's children are tomorrows voters. Therefore by examining the demographic changes in our schools we get an indication of how voting patterns are likely to change.

The graph below uses the data to show us the trends over the last 12 years among the three main groups 'Catholic', 'Protestant/Other Christian' and 'Other'

The trend in prior years has seen a gradual increase in the Catholic proportion of students in our schools. Protestants and Other Christians have been in steady decline. The Others have also shown a steady increase.

The Schools Census for 2013/2014 shows us that this trend continues. In the school year 2013/2014, the statistics show the make up to be: Catholics 51.1% (up 0.2%), Protestant 39.2% (down 0.4%) and Others 9.7% (up 0.2%).
The 'Others' of course consist of Non Christian, No Religion and Not Recorded.

In the 2011 Census the 'Others' consisted of Other Religions, No Religion and Not Stated. NISRA allocated a proportion of  'Others' into both community backgrounds (religion or religion brought up in) as follows:

• For children aged 5-11: 21.1% to 'Catholic' and 22.0% to 'Protestant and other Christian'.

• For children/adolescents aged 12-18: 23.1% to 'Catholic' and 27.5% to 'Protestant and other  

Using these figues to re-allocate the 'Other/No Religion/Not Recorded' group in the Schools census figures, we get a truer reflection of the community background of students. Students of a Catholic community background have increased to 53.2%. Students of a Protestant community background has increased to 41.5%. Others have decreased to 5.3%

Note the sudden drop in the Protestant/Other Christians is due to the change of using the out of date 2001 data for reallocation with the much more accurate data from the 2011 census.

Leaving aside the 5.3% 'Others', the split between students of Catholic and Protestant community backgrounds stands at 56.2%/43.8%