Saturday, March 8, 2014

Schools Census - Update

Each year I blog on the publication of the Schools Census. Due to the strong correlation between religion and political viewpoint as demonstrated in voting trends, changes in the demographic breakdown of Schools in the North can be used to determine future changes in voting patterns.

My recent blog on the Schools Census 2013/2014 showed Catholics now make up 51.1% of the school population. Protestants & Other Christians and 'Others' (Non Christian, No Religion and Not Recorded) make up 39.2% and 9.7% respectively.

In order to attain a truer picture of the demographic breakdown in the Schools I have replicated NISRA's allocation of Others in the 2011 Census.

With the benefit of tables DC2116NI & DC2117NI, I have gone back and reallocated 'Others' in the Schools Census publications from 2010/2011 as follows:

Schools Census 2010/2011:
• 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  

Schools Census 2011/2012:
• For children aged 4-10 (a five year old in 2012 was 4 in 2011): 20.8% to 'Catholic' and 21.3% to 'Protestant and other Christian'.

• For children/adolescents aged 11-17: 22.8% to 'Catholic' and 26.3% to 'Protestant and other  

Schools Census 2012/2013:
• For children aged 3-9: 20.5% to 'Catholic' and 21.0% to 'Protestant and other Christian'.

• For children/adolescents aged 10-16: 22.6% to 'Catholic' and 25.3% to 'Protestant and other  

Schools Census 2013/2014:
• For children aged 2-8: 20.4% to 'Catholic' and 20.5% to 'Protestant and other Christian'.

• For children/adolescents aged 9-15: 22.3% to 'Catholic' and 24.6% 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 53.3%. Students of a Protestant community background has increased to 41.7%. Others have decreased to 5.0%.

Leaving aside the 5.0% 'Others', the split between students of Catholic and Protestant community backgrounds stands at 56.1%/43.9%.

At some point in the mid 20s we will reach a tipping point where the Catholic Electorate (those aged 18 and over) will become a majority (or at least a plurality). All the evidence suggests this will also mean a Nationalist majority. Around the same time, if current trends continue we may well have a 60/40 split in the schools signalling that there will be no way back for Unionism.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fine Gael To Move North?

"A true Irish party should represent all Irish citizens."

These were the words of Fergal Crinion during the Fine Gael Ard Fheis taking place this weekend. In between motions on regulating e-cigerettes, joining NATO, directly electing a mayor for Dublin and support for same sex marriage is a motion to set up a working group to explore the idea of electing Fine Gael members north of the border with a view to contesting Assembly, European and Local elections.

Well then. This is a surprise. Although Fine Gael call themselves "The United Ireland Party" they are perceived by Nationalists as strongly partitionist. So are Fianna Fail "The Republican Party" but at least Fine Gael do not claim to be the champions of Irish Nationalism in the 26 counties.

It has long been my belief that the main political parties of the South should organise and contest elections in the North. I can also see the Labour Party merging with the SDLP at some point in the future but that's for another day. In the meantime I will be watching this development very closely.