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Northern Ireland census shows more Catholics than Protestants for first time

Figures will give optimism to those pushing for a united Ireland

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David YoungPA Media

Catholics have outnumbered Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time, the latest census results have revealed.

Census 2021 results show that 46pc of the population are now Catholic, while 43pc are Protestant or another Christian religion.

Looking at what religion people were brought up in, 46pc said Catholic, 43pc said Protestant or another Christian religion.

The 2011 Census recorded 48pc of the population as being either Protestant or brought up Protestant, down five percentage points on 2001. The Catholic population stood at 45pc in the last census, up one percentage point on 2001.

While critics say the religious breakdown is a crude barometer to gauge public opinion on a potential united Ireland, as being Catholic does not necessarily equate to nationalism, but some see it is a direct correlation.

More emphasis could be placed on the census figures relating national identity.

The latest results show that 32pc of the population see themselves as British only, 29pc see themselves as Irish only, and 8pc considered themselves British and Northern Irish only.

Less than 1pc see themselves as British and Irish only and 1% consider themselves British, Irish and Northern Irish only.

That question on religion was included in the census for the first time in 2011, when 40pc said they had a British only national identity, 25pc said they had an Irish only identity and 21pc viewed their identity as being only Northern Irish.

Looking at Census 2021 results on passports, 47pc of people here hold only a British passport, 27pc hold only an Irish passport, and 5pc have both.

The first Census 2021 results, released back in May, showed that Northern Ireland's population had risen to a record high of more than 1.9 million.

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