CAIN Web Service

Background Information on Northern Ireland Society - Religion




Page Compiled: Martin Melaugh, Brendan Lynn, and Fionnuala McKenna
Material is added to this site on a regular basis - information on this page may change

Religion in Northern Ireland

Summary

  • The main religious denominations in Northern Ireland are;
    • Catholic
    • Church of Ireland
    • Presbyterian
    • Free Presbyterian
    • Methodist
    • Baptist
    • Brethren
  • The 1991 census returns showed that 84 per cent of people were members of one of the main Christian denominations. 11 per cent of people either refused to answer the question on religion or gave their religion as 'none'. The first table below gives a summary breakdown of the responses to the religion question. The figure of 84 per cent in Northern Ireland is significantly higher than the 56 per cent of people in Britain who consider themselves to belong to a Christian denomination.
  • People in Northern Ireland are also more frequent attenders at church than those in the UK. More than 50 per cent in Northern Ireland are churchgoers compared with 15 per cent in the rest of the UK. Furthermore, women in Northern Ireland are more frequent churchgoers than men, with 61 per cent of women attending church frequently, compared with just 39 per cent men.
  • A survey carried out in 1993 by the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey showed that, 77 per cent of marriages in Northern Ireland are to partners of the same religion, compared with only 55 per cent in Britain.
  • As in most other societies a person's religion in Northern Ireland is largely determined by the religion of their parents. Whilst in Britain, the membership of churches is ageing, this is not the case in Northern Ireland where the churchgoing population is actually getting younger.
  • In a survey carried out in 1995 by the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey, 90 per cent of Protestants opted to remain part of the UK, compared to just 24 per cent of Catholics, while 60 per cent of Catholics were in favour of the reunification of Ireland.
  • On the question of constitutional identity in Northern Ireland, 76 per cent of Protestants consider themselves to be Unionists, while 54 per cent of Catholics consider themselves to be Nationalist.

    Sources:

    The following tables provide further breakdowns of statistics for religion in Northern Ireland. Much of this material is based upon the Religion Reports of the Northern Ireland Census (1991), the Irish Almanac and Yearbook of Facts (1999), and the Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey.

    List of Tables

    Table NI-REL-01: Population in Northern Ireland: breakdown by religious denomination (numbers and %), 1991, 2001, and 2011
    Table NI-REL-02: Catholic population in Northern Ireland (units as stated), 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011
    Table NI-REL-03: Percentage of Catholics in each District Council Area, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011


    The Tables

     

    NI-REL-01: Population in Northern Ireland: breakdown by religious denomination (numbers and %), 1991, 2001, and 2011
    Year 1991 2001 2011
    Religious Denomination Number % Number % Number %
    Catholic 605,639 38.40% 678,462 40.26% 738,033 40.76%
    Presbyterian 336,891 21.40% 348,742 20.69% 345,101 19.06%
    Church of Ireland 279,280 17.70% 257,788 15.30% 248,821 13.74%
    Methodist 59,517 3.80% 59,173 3.51% 54,253 3.00%
    Baptist 19,484 1.20% * * * *
    Brethren 12,446 0.80% * * * *
    Congregationist 8,176 0.50% * * * *
    Unitarian 3,213 0.20% * .* * *
    Other 79,129 5.00% 102,211 1 6.07% 104,380 5.76%
    Other Religions * * 5,082 2 0.33% 14,859 0.82%
    None 59,234 3.70% * * 183,164 10.11%
    Not Stated 114,827 7.30% 233,853 3 13.88% 122,252 6.75%
    Total 1,577,836 100.00% 1,685,267 100.00% 1,810,863 100.00%
    Notes:
    * Figures not available
    1. Other Christian (including Christian related)
    2. Other religions and philosophies
    3. Persons with no religion or religion not stated
    Source:
    Northern Ireland Census 2001 Key Statistics (2002), Table KS07a
    Northern Ireland Census 2011 Key Statistics (2012), Table KS211NI
    Table also available as:
    Rich Text Format (RTF) Document; Microsoft Excel Document

     


    Table NI-REL-02: Catholic population in Northern Ireland (units as stated), 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011
    Census Year 1961 1971 1981 1 1991 2001 2011
    Total Population 1,425,042 1,536,065 1,532,196 1,577,836 1,685,267 1,810,863
    No Religion Information 2 26,400 142,500 274,000 174,061 233,853 6.75%
    Number Stated Catholics 3 497,547 477,921 414,532 605,639 678,462 738,033
    % Stated Catholics 34.90% 31.40% 28.00% 38.40% 40.26% 40.76%
    Estimated Number Catholics 4 502,800 5

    559,800 6 586,400 7 651,700 8 737,472 9 817,385 9
    Estimated % Catholics 35.3% 5 36.8% 6 38.5% 7 41.5% 8 43.76% 9 45.14% 9
    % Increase in Catholics - 1.50% 1.70% 3.00% 2.26% 1.38%
    Notes:
    1. There was a high level of non-enumeration during the 1981 census mainly due to protests in Catholic areas about the Republican hunger strikes.
    2. Since 1971 there has been a large increase in the number of people who are unwilling to state their religion (during the 1991 census people were also offered the option of answering 'none' to the question on religion in addition to simply not completing the question).
    3. The number of people who were willing to state that they were Catholic represents the absolute minimum figure for Northern Ireland. Adjustments on this baseline figure are required to arrive at a more accurate figure for the total number of Catholics in the region.
    4. Various estimates have been made over the years of the 'true' size of the Catholic population in Northern Ireland.
    5. The estimate for 1961 is simply based on the assumption that 20 per cent of non respondents to the question on religion are Catholic.
    6. The estimate for 1971 is based on Compton, P. (1978) Northern Ireland: A Census Atlas.
    7. The estimate for 1981 is based on Compton, P. and Power, J. (1986) Estimates of the Religious Composition of Northern Ireland Local Government Districts in 1981.
    8. The estimate for 1991 is based on work in progress by Compton, P. and Power, J. being carried out for the Fair Employment Commission (FEC).
    9. The 2001 and 2011 Census included an additional question about community / religious background which allowed those initially recorded as 'persons with no religion or religion not stated' to be ascribed to the main religious groupings.
    Source:
    Northern Ireland Census 2001 Key Statistics (2002), Table KS07a and Table KS07b.
    Northern Ireland Census 2011 Key Statistics (2012), Table KS211NI and Table KS212NI.
    Table also available as:
    Rich Text Format (RTF) Document; Microsoft Excel Document.

     


    Table NI-REL-03: Percentage of Catholics in each District Council Area, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, and 2011
    District Council Area % Catholics 1971 1 % Catholics 1981 2 % Catholics 1991 3 % Catholics 2001 4 % Catholics 2011 4
    Antrim 31.10 33.00 34.80 38.64 41.20
    Ards 16.00 13.00 12.30 12.60 12.68
    Armagh 44.50 46.50 48.40 48.70 48.36
    Ballymena 17.70 19.00 19.40 20.97 22.55
    Ballymoney 29.60 29.00 31.80 31.90 31.80
    Banbridge 31.20 28.50 30.30 31.47 32.02
    Belfast 34.10 38.00 42.70 47.19 48.58
    Carrickfergus 16.20 8.00 7.50 8.66 9.56
    Castlereagh 10.10 8.00 10.30 18.26 22.24
    Coleraine 23.90 24.00 24.20 27.21 28.02
    Cookstown 49.20 52.50 55.70 57.64 59.26
    Craigavon 38.70 42.00 43.60 44.68 45.94
    Derry 64.30 68.50 74.20 75.37 74.83
    Down 54.10 59.50 62.20 61.95 62.51
    Dungannon 52.30 53.00 58.60 60.80 64.11
    Fermanagh 52.50 54.50 57.60 58.73 59.16
    Larne 26.80 24.50 24.00 25.18 24.87
    Limavady 52.40 54.50 55.80 56.58 59.68
    Lisburn 16.60 22.50 29.10 33.35 36.46
    Magherafelt 54.70 56.50 62.00 64.13 66.01
    Moyle 48.70 51.00 55.80 60.29 59.56
    Newry & Mourne 71.40 74.00 77.80 80.64 79.37
    Newtownabbey 18.00 13.50 14.20 19.36 22.56
    North Down 11.30 9.00 9.80 12.58 13.53
    Omagh 62.10 65.00 67.70 69.07 70.34
    Strabane 56.90 61.00 64.40 66.19 64.93
    Northern Ireland 36.80 38.50 41.30 43.76 45.14
    Notes:
    1. Based on adjustments by Compton (Compton, Paul. 1978, Northern Ireland: A Census Atlas. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan).
    2. Based on adjustments by Compton and Power (Compton, Paul. Power, John. 1986, 'Estimates of the Religious Composition of Northern Ireland Local Government Districts in 1981 and Change in the Geographical Pattern of Religious Composition between 1971 and 1981'. The Economic and Social Review, 17, 2 Spring: 87-105).
    3. Based on adjustments by Compton (unpublished estimates supplied by The Equality Commission, 1999).
    4. Based on the additional question about community / religious background in the 2001 Census which allowed those initially recorded as 'persons with no religion or religion not stated' to be ascribed to the main religious groupings.
    Source:
    Northern Ireland Census 2001 Key Statistics (2002), Table Table KS07b.
    Northern Ireland Census 2011 Key Statistics (2012), Table KS211NI and Table KS212NI.
    Table also available as:
    Rich Text Format (RTF) Document; Microsoft Excel Document.

    Breakdown of population in Northern Ireland according to Religion, 1861-1991 (1991 figures)

      Roman Catholic Presbyterian Church of Ireland Methodist
    Year of enumer-ation Total popul-ation Number % Number % Number % Number %
    1861 1,396,453 571,890 40.9 457,119 32.7 320.634 23.0 27,919 2.0
    1871 1,359,190 534,441 39.3 435,731 32.1 329,279 24.2 26,536 2.0
    1881 1,304,816 495,559 38.0 414,236 31.7 321,998 24.7 31,179 2.4
    1891 1,236,056 448,304 38.3 393,505 31.8 313,299 25.3 36,987 3.0
    1901 1,236,952 430,380 34.8 396,582 32.0 318,825 25.8 44,134 3.6
    1911 1,250,531 430,161 34.4 395,039 31.8 327,078 26.1 45,942 3.7
    1926 1,256,561 420,428 33.5 393,374 31.3 338,724 27.0 49,554 3.9
    1937 1,279,745 428,290 33.5 390,931 30.5 345,474 27.0 55,135 4.3
    1951 1,370,921 471,460 34.4 410,215 29.9 353,245 25.8 66,639 4.9
    1961 1,425,042 497,547 34.9 413,113 29.0 344,800 24.2 71,865 5.0
    1971 1,519,540 477,921 31.4 405,717 26.7 334,318 22.0 71,235 4.7
    1981 1,481,959 414,532 28.0 339,818 22.9 281,472 19.0 58,731 4.0
    1991 1,577,836 605,639 38.4 336,891 21.3 279,280 17.7 59,517 3.8

    Continued ...:

      Other Denominations None Not stated
    Year of enumer-ation Total population Number % Number % Number %
    1861 1,396,453 18,646 1.3     445 0.1
    1871 1,359,190 32,816 2.4     387 0.0
    1881 1,304,816 40,317 3.1     1,527 0.1
    1891 1,236,056 41,958 3.4     2,005 0.2
    1901 1,236,952 47,971 3.9     1,070 0.1
    1911 1,250,531 49,827 4.0     2,486 0.2
    1926 1,256,561 52,177 4.1     2,304 0.2
    1937 1,279,745 57,541 4.5     2,374 0.2
    1951 1,370,921 63,497 4.6     5,865 0.4
    1961 1,425,042 71,299 5.0     26,418 1.9
    1971 1,519,540 87,838 5.8     142,511 18.5
    1981 1,481,959 112,822 7.6     274,584 18.5
    1991 1,577,836 122,448 7.8 58,234 3.7 114,827 7.3

    (Source: 'The Northern Ireland Census 1991: Religion Report')


    Breakdown of population in Republic of Ireland according to Religion, 1881-1991

    Year

     

    Catholic

    Church of Ireland

    Presbyterian

    Methodist

    Jewish

    Other

    No Religion

    Not Stated

     

    Total

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    1881

    3870020

    3465332

    89.54

    317576

    8.21

    56498

    1.46

    17660

    0.46

    394

    0.01

     

     

    12560

    0.32

     

     

    1891

    3468694

    3099003

    89.34

    286804

    8.27

    51469

    1.48

    18513

    0.53

    1506

    0.04

     

     

    11399

    0.33

     

     

    1901

    3221823

    2878271

    89.34

    264264

    8.20

    46714

    1.45

    17872

    0.55

    3006

    0.09

     

     

    11696

    0.36

     

     

    1911

    3139688

    2812509

    89.58

    249535

    7.95

    45486

    1.45

    16440

    0.52

    3805

    0.12

     

     

    11913

    0.38

     

     

    1926

    2971992

    2751269

    92.57

    164215

    5.53

    32429

    1.09

    10663

    0.36

    3686

    0.12

     

     

    9730

    0.33

     

     

    1936

    2968420

    2773920

    93.45

    145030

    4.89

    28067

    0.95

    9649

    0.33

    3749

    0.13

     

     

    8005

    0.27

     

     

    1946

    2955107

    2786033

    94.28

    124829

    4.22

    23870

    0.81

    8355

    0.28

    3907

    0.13

     

     

    8113

    0.27

     

     

    1961

    2818341

    2673473

    94.86

    104016

    3.69

    18953

    0.67

    6676

    0.24

    3255

    0.12

    5236

    0.19

    1107

    0.04

    5625

    0.20

    1971

    2978248

    2795666

    93.87

    97739

    3.28

    16052

    0.54

    5646

    0.19

    2633

    0.09

    6248

    0.21

    7616

    0.26

    46648

    1.57

    1981

    3443405

    3204476

    93.06

    95366

    2.77

    14255

    0.41

    5790

    0.17

    2127

    0.06

    10843

    0.31

    39572

    1.15

    70976

    2.06

    1991

    3525719

    3228327

    91.57

    82840

    2.35

    13199

    0.37

    5037

    0.14

    1581

    0.04

    45090

    1.28

    66270

    1.88

    83375

    2.36

    Source: Republic of Ireland Census


    Religions of the Population - Local Government Districts (1991 figures)

     

    Roman Catholic

    Presbyterian

    Church of Ireland

    Area

    Total population

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Northern Ireland

    1,577,836

    605,639

    38.4

    336,891

    21.4

    279,290

    17.7

    Antrim

    44,516

    14,117

    31.7

    13,614

    30.6

    6,384

    14.3

    Ards

    64,784

    7,341

    11.3

    25,219

    38.9

    12,137

    18.7

    Armagh

    51,817

    23,518

    45.4

    8,627

    16.6

    10,604

    20.5

    Ballymena

    56,641

    10,392

    18.3

    26,067

    46.0

    8,869

    12.1

    Ballymoney

    24,198

    7,311

    30.2

    9,411

    38.8

    3,151

    13.0

    Banbridge

    33,482

    9,256

    27.6

    9,808

    28.7

    6,382

    19.0

    Belfast

    279,237

    108,954

    39.0

    47,743

    17.1

    50,242

    18.0

    Carrickfergus

    32,750

    2,269

    8.9

    10,166

    31.0

    7,698

    23.5

    Castlereagh

    60,799

    5,743

    9.4

    17,445

    28.7

    14,638

    24.1

    Coleraine

    50,438

    11,323

    22.4

    15,946

    31.6

    12,550

    24.9

    Cookstown

    31,082

    16,522

    53.2

    4,779

    15.4

    5,288

    17.0

    Craigavon

    74,988

    30,060

    40.1

    7,718

    10.3

    18,688

    24.8

    Derry

    95,371

    66,260

    69.5

    10,539

    11.1

    8,503

    8.9

    Down

    58,008

    32,507

    58.0

    9,025

    15.6

    6,183

    10.7

    Dungannon

    45,428

    25,299

    55.7

    5,822

    12.8

    8,245

    18.1

    Fermanagh

    54,033

    29,657

    54.9

    1,549

    2.9

    14,283

    26.4

    Larne

    29,419

    6,510

    22.1

    11,136

    37.9

    4,083

    13.9

    Limavady

    29,567

    15,281

    51.7

    5,683

    19.2

    4,899

    15.9

    Lisburn

    99,458

    26,786

    26.9

    20,980

    21.1

    28,288

    26.4

    Magherafelt

    36,283

    21,377

    58.8

    6,466

    15.1

    4,372

    12.0

    Moyle

    14,789

    7,723

    52.2

    2,766

    18.7

    2,587

    17.5

    Newry and Mourne

    82,943

    59,555

    71.8

    8,890

    10.7

    3,861

    4.7

    Newtownabbey

    74,035

    9,635

    13.0

    23,610

    31.9

    14,976

    20.2

    North Down

    71,832

    6,435

    9.0

    23,658

    32.9

    16,591

    23.1

    Omagh

    45,809

    29,469

    64.3

    5,141

    11.2

    5,766

    12.8

    Strabane

    36,141

    22,339

    61.3

    6,283

    17.4

    4,256

    11.8

    Continued ...:

     

    Methodist

    Other denominations

    None

    Not stated

    Area

    Total population

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Number

    %

    Northern Ireland

    1,577,836

    59,517

    3.8

    122,448

    7.8

    59,234

    3.7

    114,827

    7.3

    Antrim

    44,516

    786

    1.8

    8,600

    8.1

    2,025

    4.5

    3,990

    9.0

    Ards

    64,784

    3,386

    10.9

    7,069

    10.9

    3,904

    6.0

    5,708

    8.8

    Armagh

    51,817

    1,236

    7.6

    3,964

    7.6

    825

    1.6

    3,043

    5.9

    Ballymena

    56,641

    1,442

    10.8

    6,115

    10.8

    1,645

    3.3

    3,911

    6.9

    Ballymoney

    24,198

    123

    9.0

    2,184

    9.0

    524

    2.2

    1,494

    6.9

    Banbridge

    33,482

    624

    11.8

    3,977

    11.9

    929

    2.8

    2,728

    6.2

    Belfast

    279,237

    14,667

    7.2

    20,113

    7.2

    14,758

    5.3

    22,762

    8.1

    Carrickfergus

    32,750

    3,162

    13.4

    4,390

    13.4

    2,476

    7.6

    2,589

    8.2

    Castlereagh

    60,799

    5,323

    13.9

    8,481

    13.9

    3,797

    8.2

    5,372

    7.9

    Coleraine

    50,438

    784

    8.4

    4,214

    8.4

    2,104

    4.2

    3,517

    8.8

    Cookstown

    31,082

    331

    6.9

    2,131

    6.9

    382

    1.2

    1,649

    7.0

    Craigavon

    74,988

    3,904

    9.6

    7,190

    9.6

    1,955

    2.6

    5,493

    5.3

    Derry

    95,371

    853

    2.8

    2,629

    2.8

    1,353

    1.4

    5,234

    5.5

    Down

    58,008

    559

    6.0

    3,454

    6.0

    1,658

    2.9

    4,622

    8.0

    Dungannon

    45,428

    912

    5.3

    2,416

    5.3

    384

    0.8

    2,350

    5.2

    Fermanagh

    54,033

    2,724

    4.7

    2,534

    4.7

    745

    1.4

    2,541

    4.7

    Larne

    29,419

    1,107

    9.4

    2,771

    9.4

    1,291

    4.4

    2,521

    8.6

    Limavady

    29,567

    203

    3.5

    1,035

    3.5

    512

    1.7

    2,154

    7.3

    Lisburn

    99,458

    4,095

    9.2

    9,154

    9.2

    4,780

    4.8

    7,377

    7.4

    Magherafelt

    36,283

    185

    7.3

    2,632

    7.3

    313

    0.9

    1,968

    6.4

    Moyle

    14,789

    29

    3.1

    452

    3.1

    254

    1.7

    978

    6.6

    Newry and Mourne

    82,943

    314

    4.1

    3,375

    4.1

    947

    1.1

    6,000

    7.2

    Newtownabbey

    74,035

    6,437

    11.0

    8,125

    11.0

    4,476

    6.0

    6,776

    9.2

    North Down

    71,832

    5,077

    10.4

    7,500

    10.4

    6,140

    8.5

    6,431

    9.0

    Omagh

    45,809

    785

    4.2

    1,910

    4.2

    570

    1.2

    2,163

    4.7

    Strabane

    36,141

    489

    2.9

    1,032

    2.9

    289

    0.8

    1,453

    4.0

    (Source: 'The Northern Ireland Census 1991: Religion Report')


    Denominational Affiliation (based on 1993 figures)

     

    Northern Ireland
    %

    Britain
    %

    Catholic

    35

    10

    Episcopalian

    19

    36

    Presbyterian

    25

    5

    Methodist

    4

    3

    Baptist

    2

    1

    Free Presbyterian

    1

    *

    Brethren

    1

    *

    Other Protestant

    2

    2

    Missing/Other

    11

    44

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1992-1993, The Third Report, p.6)


    Church Attendance (based on 1993 survey results)

     

    Northern Ireland
    %

    Britain
    %

    Frequent

    58

    15

    Regular

    10

    7

    Rare

    32

    78

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1992-1993, The Third Report, p.7)


    Church Attendance and Denomination (based on 1993 survey results)

     

    Frequent

    Regular

    Rare

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    Catholic

    84

    44

    6

    11

    11

    46

    Episcopalian

    45

    12

    13

    8

    42

    80

    Baptist

    38

    52

    41

    9

    21

    40

    Methodist

    45

    26

    18

    15

    37

    60

    Presbyterian

    52

    20

    13

    14

    35

    66

    Free Presbyterian

    53

    -

    16

    -

    32

    -

    Brethren

    69

    -

    19

    -

    13

    -

    Other

    77

    55

    0

    4

    23

    42

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1992-1993, The Third Report, p.7)


    Gender and Religious Affiliation (based on 1993 survey results)

     

    Northern Ireland

    Britain

    Men
    %

    Women
    %

    Men
    %

    Women
    %

    Catholic

    45

    55

    40

    60

    Mainstream Protestant

    42

    57

    41

    59

    Conservative Protestant

    33

    67

    40

    60

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1992-1993, The Third Report, p.15)


    Gender and Church Attendance(based on 1993 survey results)

     

    Northern Ireland

    Britain

    Men
    %

    Women
    %

    Men
    %

    Women
    %

    Frequent

    39

    61

    37

    63

    Regular

    57

    43

    35

    65

    Rare

    49

    51

    48

    52

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1992-1993, The Third Report, p.16)


    Age and Church attendance (based on 1993 survey results)

    Age

    All

    Frequent

    Regular

    Rare

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    NI
    %

    GB
    %

    18-24

    16

    12

    16

    8

    14

    12

    18

    13

    25-34

    19

    19

    16

    16

    23

    23

    22

    20

    35-44

    19

    18

    17

    15

    17

    20

    21

    18

    45-54

    18

    16

    19

    13

    13

    13

    17

    17

    55-64

    13

    15

    15

    20

    18

    18

    10

    14

    65+

    15

    20

    17

    20

    15

    16

    12

    19

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1992-1993, The Third Report, p.17)


    Preferred long-term policy for Northern Ireland by religion (%)(based on 1996 survey results)

     
    1989
    1990
    1991
    1993
    1994
    Protestants
    Remain part of UK
    93
    93
    92
    90
    90
    Reunify Ireland
    3
    5
    4
    5
    6
    Other option
    2
    1
    1
    4
    3
    Don't know
    2
    1
    1
    1
    1
    Not answered
    0
    0
    1
    0
    0
    Catholics
    Remain part of UK
    32
    33
    35
    36
    24
    Reunify Ireland
    56
    55
    53
    49
    60
    Other option
    4
    5
    2
    5
    7
    Don't know
    7
    6
    7
    10
    8
    Not answered
    1
    1
    2
    1
    1
    Others
    Remain part of UK
    81
    72
    79
    74
    66
    Reunify Ireland
    13
    19
    13
    13
    15
    Other option
    4
    5
    4
    6
    14
    Don't know
    3
    2
    4
    7
    5
    Not answered
    0
    2
    0
    0
    0

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1995-1996, The Fifth Report, p.35)


    Responses to national identity question by religion and year (%) (based on 1996 survey results)

     
    1989
    1991
    1993
    1994
     
    P
    C
    P
    C
    P
    C
    P
    C
    British/Ulster
    79
    12
    82
    12
    85
    13
    82
    10
    N.Irish/Sometimes
    18
    29
    16
    27
    13
    26
    15
    28
    Irish
    3
    60
    2
    62
    2
    61
    3
    62

    P = Protestant; C = Catholic

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1995-1996, The Fifth Report, p.37)


    Responses to constitutional identity question by religion and year (%)(based on 1996 survey results)

    .
    1989
    1991
    1993
    1994
    .
    P
    C
    P
    C
    P
    C
    P
    C
    Unionist
    71
    0
    73
    0
    75
    0
    76
    0
    Neither
    29
    59
    27
    48
    25
    59
    24
    45
    Nationalist
    0
    40
    0
    51
    0
    40
    0
    54

    P = Protestant; C = Catholic

    The above table reports another measure of identity, which we call 'constitutional identity'. This is the response to the question:
    Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Unionist, a Nationalist or neither?

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1995-1996, The Fifth Report, p.35)


    Support for Unionist and Nationalist parties and Alliance according to religion (%)(based on 1996 survey results)

     
    1989
    1990
    1991
    1993
    1994
    Protestants
    Unionist
    88
    90
    87
    88
    86
    Alliance
    12
    10
    12
    11
    14
    Nationalist
    0
    0
    1
    1
    0
    Catholics
    Unionist
    3
    1
    1
    2
    0
    Alliance
    11
    14
    13
    13
    11
    Nationalist
    86
    85
    86
    86
    89
    Others
    Unionist
    50
    67
    65
    58
    51
    Alliance
    34
    26
    29
    24
    25
    Nationalist
    16
    7
    6
    19
    24

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1995-1996, The Fifth Report, p.38)


    Percentage who wish to retain Union with Britain (1994 data)

     
    All
    Protestants
    Catholics
    Gender
    Men
    69
    94
    21
    Women
    71
    94
    36
    Age
    18-25
    64
    97
    14
    26-35
    70
    98
    30
    36-45
    65
    88
    37
    46-55
    71
    97
    32
    56+
    77
    93
    30
    Social class
    Salariat
    70
    93
    28
    Routine non-manual
    74
    94
    33
    Petty bourgeoisie
    68
    88
    24
    Foremen and technical workers
    83
    96
    23
    Working class
    68
    96
    31
    Education
    None
    69
    93
    32
    CSE <grade 1
    71
    97
    25
    0-level or CSF grade 1
    77
    98
    28
    A-level
    70
    98
    25
    Higher education but less than degree
    75
    98
    26
    Degree or higher
    48
    67
    23

    Base: All Protestants and Catholics who prefer retention of the Union or a united Ireland (excludes those who give any other reply to constitutional preference question and excludes those not recorded as either Protestant or Catholic).

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1995-1996, The Fifth Report, p.42)


    Identity and party preference among Protestants, Catholics who favour Irish unity and Catholics who favour Union with Britain (%) (based on 1996 survey results)

     
    Protestants
    Catholics preferring United Ireland
    Catholics preferring Union with Britain
    National identity
    British/Ulster
    82
    3
    22
    N. Irish/Sometimes British...
    15
    28
    38
    Irish
    3
    69
    40
    Constitutional identity
    Unionist
    76
    0
    3
    Neither
    24
    36
    75
    Nationalist
    0
    64
    22
    Party preference
    DUP
    27
    0
    0
    UUP/Other Unionist
    59
    0
    0
    Alliance
    14
    2
    24
    SDLP
    0
    82
    74
    Sinn Féin
    0
    16
    2

    (Source: Northern Ireland Social Attitudes Survey 1995-1996, The Fifth Report, p.45)


  • CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
    CAIN is based within the University of Ulster.


    go to the top of this page go to the top of this page
    Last modified :