Census results confirm significant demographic change


The 2021 census results confirm that the number of Catholics in the North of Ireland has leapt above the number of Protestants for the first time since the border was drawn through Ireland a century ago to prevent such a situation.

Sinn Féin has said the publication of the results indicate that ‘historic change is happening’ and said preparations and dialogue on building a better future should begin now.

The figures show that the Catholics are now at 42.3% while Protestants and other Christians amount to only 37.4%.

When the definition is expanded to included those brought up in a certain denomination, the population is 45.8% Catholic or raised Catholic, versus 43.5% Protestant or other Christian, or raised as such.

That marks a huge 5.5% swing from the results of the previous census in 2011 which has bolster calls for a date to be set for a border poll to end Britain’s gerrymandered partition of the island in 1922.

Other indicators of substantial demographic change include a statistic that those who see themselves as Irish and/or Northern Irish make up 50.7% of the population, versus just 31.9% who see themselves as British only and a further 10% who see themselves as partly British and partly Irish/Northern Irish.

Sinn Fein North Belfast MP John Finucane said:

“Today‘s census results are another clear indication that historic change is happening across this island and of the diversity of society which enriches us all.

“There is no doubt change is underway and irreversible. How that change is shaped moving forward requires maturity to take the challenges which face our society.

“We can all be part of shaping a better future; a new constitutional future and a new Ireland.

“But we must prepare for it. The Irish government should establish a Citizens’ Assembly to plan for the possibility of a Unity referendum.

“A period of planning is critical. That planning, and dialogue, and engagement needs to happen now and it must include people from all backgrounds and communities.

“The partition of Ireland has been a failure. We can build a better future together, for every person who lives on this island.”

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