Life in Two Enclave Areas. Chapter 1: The sample and population in the areas surveyed
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1. THE SAMPLE AND THE POPULATIONS IN THE AREAS SURVEYED
The examination of Gobnascale and the Fountain began by attempting to
establish basic population figures for each area. At the time this study
began, enumeration district data, where subsets of census data for 400
households could be obtained, was not yet available, - but became available
within the first year of the study. However, since the Fountain fell below
the size of an enumeration district, and since enumeration district data
was only available on the 1991 census, that source of data was unsuitable.
In order to examine migration in and out of the two areas over a period
of time, it is necessary to be able to examine and compare data from more
than one year, in order to examine shifts in population over time. Small
area statistics from the 1971, 1981 and 1991 Census of Population for Northern
Ireland were used for this purpose. In order to establish the boundaries
of the two areas as accurately as possible, local community workers and
residents were consulted and a grid reference which corresponded as closely
as possible with the area was agreed. Data was obtained for each of these
two areas for the three census years. Further details of this process,
together with the grid references used are contained in Appendix 1.
The following tables summarise the findings on total population, religion
and migration for each of the two areas:
Table 1: Population of The Fountain:
Table 2: Population of Gobnascale:
From this exercise, we established a figure for the total population
for each area, which also reflected the impressions of the total population
figure held by local community organisations in both areas. The establishment
of this figure allowed decisions to be made about the sample size for the
survey. Details of the selection of the sample, together with data on the
confidence limits and sampling procedures, are contained in Appendix 2.
This baseline data also afforded a perspective, - the limitations of
the 1991 Census notwithstanding,- on migration in the two areas over the
twenty year period examined. From the baseline data, it appeared important
to examine in the survey the stability of the population in each area,
and their intention to move or stay in the area. These issues were included
in the questionnaire (see Appendix 3) and the findings are discussed in
Section 1: Migration and the Stability of the Populations.
The sample selected in the survey in both areas were also asked about
their length of residence, religion, identity, gender, age, housing tenure,
housing type, number in household, their main activity in the previous
week, annual income and source of income, and experience of unemployment
in the last 5 years.
Length of residence
How long have lived where you now live?
Responses to question 1 are shown in the table below and in the following
Table 3: Length of time in present residence:
Differences in responses between the two areas were significant at the
.0 level. An examination of the data reveals that a "bulge" in
the Gobnascale figures occurs in the over 10 and under 20 years and in
the over 20 but under 40 year category, whereas the Fountain figures show
no such trend. This "bulge" can be explained by the settlement
pattern in Gobnascale, which was largely influenced by the building of
a new housing area in the early 1970's, thus explaining the inflated numbers
of people who have lived in the area since that housing became available.
Conversely, 11% of Fountain respondents fell into the "60 years or
more" category, whereas no Gobnascale respondents fell into this category.
It would appear that Gobnascale has a relatively sudden pattern of settlement,
with an influx of population in the 1970's, whereas no such sharp influx
seems to have occurred in the Fountain.
We know from qualitative data that there was an influx of Protestants
from other parts of the city into the Fountain in the early 1970, and this
could explain the slight rise in the percentage of respondents in the 10-20
and 20-40 year categories. There is a fall in numbers, however, in the
5-10 year category in the Fountain, which would tend to suggest a marked
loss of population in the period 1984-1989. Conversely, 6% of Fountain
respondents, (compared with only 1% of Gobnascale respondents) indicated
that they had lived in the area for less than 6 months. This would suggest
a recent influx of new residents. A Housing Executive survey in the Fountain,
also conducted in February 1996, suggests that there may also be some movement
of residents within the area, and point out that the highest housing turnover
is in the flats and maisonettes. This is also true to a much lesser extent
in Gobnascale, where flats have been used as single person housing, although
it takes place within a much more stable population.)
Nonetheless, the figures for the Fountain suggest a high level of new
residents, whether they move into the area from outside, or move within
the area. However, we know from qualitative data, that this may not necessarily
be a positive development for an area with a population decline, since
some of that influx may be accounted for by the unofficial use of some
housing units as emergency or short-term housing, as housing for single
people, often those being discharged from residential facilities, or, subversively,
as giro-drops. Over 70% of these new residents - those living in the area
for less than a year- are male, and qualitative evidence suggests that
many of these males have alcohol problems. Certainly, from the qualitative
data, we know that the influx of newcomers is a matter of some anxiety
for Fountain residents, who fear that the culture of the area is endangered
by an influx of people without previous connection to the area. Some common
anxiety about the "high turnover of newcomers to the area" and
about the "area [being] used as a 'dumping ground' for people with
problems" surfaced in the interviews, and were included in the questionnaire
(see question 13), which is discussed in section 4.
The next characteristic of the population and of the sample which was
examined was the religious make up of the population, and of the sample.
Tables 1 and 2 show the religious breakdown of the two areas over a twenty
year period. Table 4 shows the comparative religious breakdown of the sample
in both areas.
Table 4: Religion of the sample
Predictably, the difference between the two areas is significant at
the .0 level, and the religious composition in the two areas is markedly
different. In Gobnascale 91% of the population is Catholic, with a further
6% indicating that they had either no religion or no denomination. Two
(1%) Presbyterians appeared in the Gobnascale sample, and were the only
other denomination present in the area.
In the Fountain, the situation was only slightly less religiously homogenous.
Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodists accounted for 73% of the
Fountain sample, with a further 15% claiming no religion or no denomination.
The sample reflected the trends in religious composition which were observable
from our interrogation of small area census data for the two areas.
Question 25 of the questionnaire asked about the community identity
of respondents. The results are shown in Table 5, and in the following
diagram. Again, the responses are significantly different between the two
communities at the .0 level.
Table 5: Community identity
Table 5 and the diagram above illustrate the slight difference in polarisation
between the two samples, with the Fountain sample containing 3% of respondents
who identify with the Catholic community, whereas the Gobnascale sample
contained only 1% of respondents who identified with the Protestant community.
Question 29 established the gender of respondents. The results are shown
in Table 6 and the following diagram. In the Gobnascale sample, only 33%
of respondents were male, whereas 46% of Fountain respondents were male.
The gender difference between the two areas is significant at the .01 level.
When we compare the gender make-up of the sample to data on the gender
make-up of the population in both areas from the extracted census data,
we find that the sample is only 33% male in Gobnascale, compared with 48%
male in the population according to the census data. The Fountain sample
matches the proportions of males in the census of population data for the
Fountain (46% male)and the 52% female in the Fountain sample matches the
population data also, if we allow the 2% no response rate in the Fountain
to be female.
It would appear that our Gobnascale sample contains a disproportionate
representation of females, and in future analysis, the data could be weighted
to take this into account. This skew in favour of females possibly arose
in the self-completion nature of the questionnaire. We were aware in carrying
out the fieldwork, that, although we specified which family member we wished
to complete the questionnaire, the internal division of labour within households
meant that another family member- now apparently female - sometimes completed
the questionnaire on behalf of the selected person. This could account
for the skew.
Table 6: Gender
We will return to the issue of gender when we look at the next set of
data on age.
We established the age groupings of our sample in question 30 of the
questionnaire. The results are shown in Table 7 and in the following diagram.
There were no significant differences between the two samples in relation
to age. However, examination of the age distribution shows that 31% of
Numbers and percentages in each community
is over the age of sixty, whereas only 17% of the Gobnascale sample
falls into the same category. However, this does not entirely reflect the
age data which we obtained from extracts of the census for the two areas.
These can be summarised as follows:
Table 8: 1991 Census: Age in The Fountain and Gobnascale
From an examination of the census data, it appears that 25% of the Fountain
population was over the age of 60 in 1991, whereas only 7% of Gobnascale
residents fell into this category. A further gender breakdown of these
data reveals that 82 residents or 17.5% of the Fountain population are
females over the age of 60, while only 63 (4.8%) of a total population
of 1312 in Gobnascale fell into this category.
Conversely, at the lower end of the age range, the largest single proportion
of the population in Gobnascale (34%) was under the age of 16. The equivalent
proportion in the Fountain was 22%. Thus it appears that, whilst our sample
may not reflect it, the Fountain contains a larger proportion of older
people, whilst Gobnascale contains a larger proportion of young people.
Questions 31 and 32 in the questionnaire establish the tenure and nature
of housing among respondents from each of the two areas. The following
two tables and diagrams illustrate the responses to these questions.
Table 9: Tenure of Accommodation
Predictably, the vast majority (80%) of Gobnascale respondents live
in public housing, as do a smaller majority (69%) of Fountain respondents.
The differences between the two areas were significant at the .0001 level,
due to a larger privately rented sector (10%) in the Fountain. There were
similar levels of owner occupation in each area (Fountain 17% and Gobnascale
18%) from which the impact of the sale of public housing can be notices,
especially in Gobnascale, which was an area predominated by public housing
until relatively recently. The Fountain, on the other had, always contained
a proportion of owner occupiers, albeit many of them in sub-standard housing.
Therefore, we conclude that significant difference exist between the two
samples in terms of housing tenure.
Again, in terms accommodation type, significant differences (at the
.0 level) exist between the two areas. Terraced housing is the predominant
type of accommodation in both the Fountain (48%) and the Gobnascale sample
(67%), although self-contained purpose built flats or maisonettes (40%)
account for a substantial amount of the housing in the Fountain. Semi-detached
houses or bungalows accounted for 17% of Gobnascale housing in the sample,
whilst it accounted for only 4% in the Fountain, reflecting the more suburban
setting of Gobnascale. Similarly, 8% of Gobnascale housing was detached
houses or bungalows, which accounted for only 1% of Fountain housing. The
environment in which people live in these two areas is significantly different,
both in terms of housing mix and housing tenure. Table 10 and the following
diagram show the results of question 32 in the questionnaire.
Table 10 : Accommodation type
Two questions in the questionnaire elicited information about household
size. Question 33 asked for the number of people over the age of 18 in
the household, and question 34 asked for the number under 18. Tables 11-13
show the results for these questions. Table 11 shows the number of persons
over 18 in households in both areas. There were no significant differences
between the two areas on this variable.
Table 11 : Number in house over 18
Numbers and percentages in each community
Table 12 shows the numbers of children under 18 in households in both
areas. A significant difference at the .00005 level emerged on this question.
66% of households in the Fountain and only 38% of households in Gobnascale
contained no children under 18. In all other categories there was a lower
proportion of Fountain households, indicating an overall lower population
of children in the Fountain.
When the data from questions 33 and 34 was aggregated, it was possible
to compile data about household size in the two areas. Table 13, and the
diagram following, shows the results of this exercise. We can then compare
this with the data extracted from the 1991 census, shown in Table 14. No
significant difference was found between the two areas in the number of
people over 18 in the household. However, significant differences exist
between the two areas at the .00005 level on the number of people under
the age of 18 in households.
Table 13 : Total household size
There is some variation between the respondents in our sample and the
extracts from census data. According to the census data 47% of households
in the Fountain and 22% of Gobnascale households are single person households,
whereas only 41% of Fountain households and 14% of Gobnascale households
in our sample fell into this category. Differences also occurred between
our sample and the census data in the proportion of two and three person
households in each area, and in the numbers of households with seven or
more people in each area. Our sample contained proportionally less of these
households than the census data would indicate is present in both areas.
However, the degree of difference between the two areas seems to be similar
between our sample and the census data. It is also worth noting that some
changes may have occurred to the population structure in the five years
since the census material was collected, which may explain some of the
difference between our sample and the census data.
Economic activity, work and unemployment
Question 35 asked respondents to indicate from a list of choices what
they were doing in the previous week. Table 15 and the two diagrams following
show their responses. The responses from the two areas were significantly
different at the .002 level.
Numbers and percentages in each community
There are differences between the proportion in the two areas who are
registered unemployed. 13% of Gobnascale respondents and 17% of Fountain
respondents selected this category. Conversely, 20% of Fountain respondents
and only 16% of Gobnascale respondents said that they were in full-time
work, and 7% of Fountain respondents and 5% of Gobnascale respondents said
that they were in part-time work. When we compare this with data extracted
from the 1991 census for the two areas, (see tables 16-18) we find that
the census data tends to confirm a higher economic activity level in the
Gobnascale. A much larger proportion of Gobnascale respondents (21%)
described their activity in the previous week as "looking after the
home": only 7% of Fountain respondents selected this option. Finally,
a higher proportion of Gobnascale respondents (5%) reported "full
or part time education" as their activity in the previous week, compared
with only 1% of Fountain residents.
Table 16: N.I. Census 1991: Economic Activity: Gobnascale
Table 17: N.I. Census 1991: Economic Activity and employment:
Table 18: N.I. Census 1991: Economic Activity and employment
In the survey, we asked respondents, in questions 38 and 39 about their
experiences of unemployment. Tables 19 and 20 and the accompanying diagrams
show their responses. Our survey showed no significant differences in the
employment and unemployment rates in the sample. However, again, caution
is necessary because of the high no response rate to both questions. Between
50%-60% of respondents made no reply on these questions. However, on both
questions, employment and unemployment in the last five years, and the
number of months unemployed in the last five years, there were no significant
differences between the two areas. This tends to contradict the data extracted
from the 1991 census, which indicates a difference in favour of the Fountain
between the two areas in employment and unemployment rates. The low response
rate in this survey makes it difficult to effectively challenge the census
data. Although it is possible that the economic changes which have taken
place since the 1991 census was taken have impacted on the employment rates
in both areas, it is impossible to be conclusive here, for the reasons
Table 19 : Unemployed in last 5 years
Table 20 : Number of months unemployed in last five years
It is perhaps noteworthy, that in table 20, of those who did reply to
the question, the biggest cohort were those who had been employed for all
of the previous five years. (19% in Gobnascale and 12% in the Fountain)
Generally, from both the census data, and to some extent from the survey
data, the evidence suggests that there is an overall lower economic activity
level in Gobnascale in comparison to the Fountain, and according to census
data, this is accompanied by higher unemployment levels, and lower employment
rates in Gobnascale. The survey data were more difficult to interpret because
of the low response rate on some questions.
We then went on to examine income levels in both areas. However, the
data on income must be treated cautiously, due to the very high non-response
level in both areas. Question 37 on the questionnaire asked respondents
to indicate their income level on a range of income bands. Responses from
both areas are shown in table 21 and in the following diagram. If the "no
response" and "don't know" categories are aggregated, then
70% of respondents in Gobnascale and 63% in the Fountain did not make a
response to this question. For those who did reply, there was a peak of
responses in both areas in the £2,000-£4,999 response category
and in the £5,000- £9,999 category, with less than 10% of respondents
in both communities claiming to earn more than £9,999. There were
no significant differences between the two ares in terms of income, although,
as was stated earlier, these findings must be treated with caution, due
to the poor response rate. However, in spite of differences in economic
activity and employment rates, that there should be no significant difference
in income levels between the two areas, would suggest that those in employment
are in low wage employment, thus preventing increased employment from altering
income levels in the Fountain area.
Table 21: Annual income
We also asked respondents about their sources of income in question
40, and their responses are shown in table 22. Again, there was a very
poor response rate to this question, with between 50% and 84% of respondent
making no response on questions. However, from the responses we did collect,
it is perhaps noteworthy that a significant difference between the two
areas was observed on all of the options listed. Again, a higher proportion
(22%) of Fountain respondents indicated that they had income from employment
(the Gobnascale rate was 13%). 40% of Gobnascale respondents and only 28%
of Fountain respondents said that they received income support; similarly,
more Gobnascale respondents than Fountain respondents were in receipt of
child benefit (Gobnascale 31%: Fountain 14%); one parent benefit (Gobnascale
12%: Fountain 4%); sickness benefit (Gobnascale 7%: Fountain 4%); old age
pension(Gobnascale 33 %: Fountain 26%). Fountain rates were higher for
unemployment benefit (Gobnascale 6 %: Fountain 7 %); family credit (Gobnascale
3%: Fountain 4 %):;housing benefit (Gobnascale 11%: Fountain 15%); invalidity
benefit (Gobnascale10%: Fountain 12%); pension from employment (Gobnascale
2%: Fountain 9%); and income from other sources (Gobnascale 5 %: Fountain
Generally, as with the other economic data, it is difficult to be conclusive
because of the poor response rates. One would expect economic differences
to exist between the two areas, even if only due to their different age
structure or location. These differences are likely to be matters of pattern
rather than absolute differences in income levels. Both areas experience
high levels of economic deprivation and marginalisation, benefit dependence
in both communities is high, and conditions, although they may be improving,
have plenty of scope for more improvement.
Table 22: Source of income in the last month
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