No rhetorical slips this year now that OFMdFM is paying for #Census2011

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In the Irish News Fionnuala makes an interesting point in the constitutional stakes that will follow the census figures. Unlike 2002, no one who matters in local politics is going to get blindsided like they were ten years ago, since OFMdFM is paying, they get to see the real figures first.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Mick. As Fionnuala O’Connor also pointed out, the increase in catholic numbers compared to the 1991 figures was 3%, I can’t see the increase from 2001 being less than that, so I predict it will be 50% [or a sliver below]self declared protestant, to 47% [or a bit over], self declared catholic. The Newsletter poll on Robinson’s claim seriously contradicts him by a substantial margin, but I suppose he felt he had to throw some red meat to the hardliners to offset the unpalatable things he said about ‘outdated dogma.

  • GoldenFleece

    Daniel

    I actually predict a fall in Protestant AND Catholic numbers myself with a large increase in No Religion.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Yes, GoldenFleece, but will they be Protestant or Catholic non-religious (he says, only half-jokingly)?

  • JR

    Without wanting to be morbid the protestant/catholic balance is going to be more determined more by death rates this time than birth rates. in 2001 66% of the over 60′s were Protestant

  • Politico68

    is there a link to fionnulas article perchance?

  • simtrib

    Mick. As Fionnuala O’Connor also pointed out, the increase in catholic numbers compared to the 1991 figures was 3%, I can’t see the increase from 2001 being less than that

    A strange thing to say since all the evidence at 2001 was that the rate of closing of the gap was shrinking. True there may be an “artificial” boost in the Catholic figures from Poles, Lithuanians etc. but it would be unlikely to amount to more than 1% of the total population.

    However we have the yearly Northern Ireland Labour Force Survey figures for the 16+ population, which are measured slightly differently and will be less stable and accurate but they should quite reasonably show the trend that we should expect overall. Taken from Table A2.1.

    1998 40% Catholic 54% Protestant 6% None
    1999 41% Catholic 53% Protestant 6% None
    2000 41% Catholic 53% Protestant 6% None
    2001 42% Catholic 52% Protestant 6% None
    2002 40% Catholic 53% Protestant 7% None
    2003 42% Catholic 51% Protestant 8% None
    2004 40% Catholic 50% Protestant 10% None
    2005 39% Catholic 53% Protestant 8% None
    2006 38% Catholic 52% Protestant 10% None
    2007 40% Catholic 51% Protestant 9% None
    2008 41% Catholic 51% Protestant 8% None
    2009 42% Catholic 50% Protestant 8% None
    2010 40% Catholic 50% Protestant 9% None

    These surveys ask people if they are from a “mainly Protestant background” or from a “mainly Catholic background” rather than the census which asks your religion and if none allocates according to religion brought up in to get “community background”.

    The 2001 census for TOTAL population (stated religion):
    Protestant and Other Christian: 45.6%
    Roman Catholic: 40.2%
    None: 13.9%
    Other Religions and Philosophies: 0.3%

    The 2001 census for TOTAL population (community background – religion or religion brought up in):
    Protestant and Other Christian: 53.1%
    Roman Catholic: 43.8%
    None: 2.7%
    Other Religions and Philosophies: 0.4%

    My prediction for the 2011 census for TOTAL population community background would be:
    Protestant and Other Christian: 50.5%
    Roman Catholic: 44.3%
    None: 4.4%
    Other Religions and Philosophies: 0.8%

    Only a fortnight until we find out but I don’t think that I’ll be very wrong.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    GoldenFleece there was a large drop in self-declared religion in 2001 but the ‘community background’ question and a few dubiously suspicious statistical manipulations were used to attribute a religion on those of ‘no religion’ – hence the reason 45% odd Protestants became the 53% adjusted figure.

    By my rough calculations Catholic are increasing every year by about 8k and Protestants by 1k. Over ten years that’s 80k extra Fenians and 10 Prods which would translate to 45% – 50%. The big unknown for me is how immigration and emigration will distort things – could be as much 2% either way on both of those figures, though I suspect the best nationalists could hope for is the Protestant figure dipping below 50%. Can’t see that happening though as figures will be massaged so as the horses aren’t spooked or something is done with the new identity question to ensure Protestant is kept over 50%.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Ulick. There was an obvious tinkering to produce the 2011 figures including what was quaintly called projection based on likely affiliation based on which street the refusenik subject lived in. This was completely ignoring the wishes of those who declined to give their answer to the question in question, as it were. They might decide this time to revert to the wishes of those who refused permission in 2011 but it’s not going to be openly admitted.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Golden Fleece [2.15]

    The known unknown [as Rumsfeld had it] is whether the immigrant catholics will accept the premise of the religious declaration. There could be risk of loyalist attacks on those having come here from Spain, Portugal or Italy if it’s deemed by potential attackers that this group hold the balance.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Golden Fleece. Possibly those who were expecting a catholic majority to appear last time might have decided to answer the question this time if they declined in 2002 to attempt to avoid the same disappointment again. .

  • simtrib

    dubiously suspicious statistical manipulations were used to attribute a religion on those of ‘no religion’ – hence the reason 45% odd Protestants became the 53% adjusted figure.

    No. Two questions were asked on the form, your religion and the religion you were brought up in.

    If your religion was Catholic you were recorded as Catholic community background. If it was Christian but not Catholic you were recorded as Protestant (technically Protestant and other Christian) community background.

    If you said your religion was “none” then you were recorded as Catholic community background if you said you were brought up Catholic and Protestant community background if you said you were brought up Protestant (or other Christian).

    If you said that your religion was “none” and the religion you were brought up in was “none” then you went into the bucket marked “none” in terms of community background, containing 2.7% of the population.

    It’s that simple. Nobody went around allocating people by postcodes or strange means of divination, that’s all myth.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    “It’s that simple. Nobody went around allocating people by postcodes or strange means of divination, that’s all myth.”

    No simtrib, it wasn’t that simple, that is unless you know something different from what NIRSA have told us already? If you look at the methodology document they published (http://tinyurlcom/cojdxdc) you can see that they used the ‘Edit and Donor Imputation System’ (EDIS) in order to fill missing items in the records. This involved finding a donor with a ‘similar’ profile and using their responses to fill in missing values – which incidentally also used geographical location/distance as a filter, so you could say postcodes were used.

    The Labour Force Report’s you mentioned previously is based on sampling so I don’t know how reliable that is. However those figures you posted are for the population at 16+ when we know the Protestant community are over-represented in the 65+ bracket (66% I read somewhere). If you look at the working age population then the figures are 42% Catholic, 48% Protestant, 10% None. Table A2.7 also shows that for the 16-24 age group Catholics have been in the majority every single year since 1999 (when others are excluded). These are the people who have been getting married (or not) and having babies these past ten yeas so it’ll be interesting to see how that has influenced the 2011 returns.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    One other thing that occurred to me whilst browsing through Kathryn Torney’s interactive map of the religious make-up in the school system was that EDIS in the 2001 results could have over-estimated the number of Protestants. For example it’s possible there may have been people in loyalist areas who didn’t want to declare as Catholic and were subsequently recorded as Protestant by EDIS due to geographical location – that may partially explain why there are now so many Catholics appearing on the controlled school registers of south and east Belfast.

  • simtrib

    No simtrib, it wasn’t that simple, that is unless you know something different from what NIRSA have told us already? If you look at the methodology document they published (http://tinyurlcom/cojdxdc) you can see that they used the ‘Edit and Donor Imputation System’ (EDIS) in order to fill missing items in the records. This involved finding a donor with a ‘similar’ profile and using their responses to fill in missing values – which incidentally also used geographical location/distance as a filter, so you could say postcodes were used.

    You are speaking of a process that was carried out throughout the UK for all census questions (with e.g. more than one box ticked when only one answer is logical) and alleging systemic bias. You, to an extent, but especially danielsmoran are alleging deliberate bias. Essentially you are saying that the UK government falsified it’s data on the number of outside toilets in Liverpool and the number of Chinese in Cardiff in order to make people think there are less people of Catholic community background in Northern Ireland. Maybe you should be posting this on the David Icke or Alex Jones forums more so than here.

    The Labour Force Report’s you mentioned previously is based on sampling so I don’t know how reliable that is. However those figures you posted are for the population at 16+ when we know the Protestant community are over-represented in the 65+ bracket (66% I read somewhere). If you look at the working age population then the figures are 42% Catholic, 48% Protestant, 10% None. Table A2.7 also shows that for the 16-24 age group Catholics have been in the majority every single year since 1999 (when others are excluded). These are the people who have been getting married (or not) and having babies these past ten yeas so it’ll be interesting to see how that has influenced the 2011 returns.

    I made it perfectly clear that those figures are 16+ and that they were to be used for a trend. You stated that you predicted that Catholic CB would have been 45% – 50% in 2011. Well maybe only just. However when in 2010 the largest survey that takes place in Northern Ireland had 40% saying they were from the mainly Catholic community, 50% the mainly Protestant community and 9% other it seems rather dubious that the Catholic CB population would have been anywhere near 50%. I see no reason to see that the under 15 population is not following the same trend.

    So in 2001 the LFS said

    2001 42% Catholic 52% Protestant 6% None

    and the census said

    2001 44% Catholic 53% Protestant 4% None

    In 2010 the LFS said

    2010 40% Catholic 50% Protestant 9% None

    So the 2011 census is going to say?

    The CCB figure will be very lucky if it passes 45%. I guess though there’s hardly much point in expending energy on this debate when the actual figures are so imminent.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    I can predict how unionists will portray the census results. They will deal with it as proof that a UI will not result from
    an end to Protestant majority, but will refuse to deal with a continuation of a N Ireland which will be a neutral entity and later a catholic majority and how they will cope with that..
    Maybe they’d rather a referendum resulting in a UI than deal with a long term NI not controlled by them?

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Oh simtrib… and you seemed to have so much potential with such seemingly definitive statements. Let’s take it from the top.

    “You are speaking of a process that was carried out throughout the UK for all census questions”

    No, I’m taking about the methodology used for the census in NI – the NISRA bit should have given that away. It stands for Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. It used to operate under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Office and now Stormont’s Department of Finance and Personnel. EDIS may have been developed for the UK Office of National Statistics but it was shoehorned into the NI census to fill in the blanks of the community background question – which incidentally was not in the British censuses. However I’m glad all the same that you now accept EDIS is not a “myth” as you previously stated.

    “You, to an extent, but especially danielsmoran are alleging deliberate bias.”

    No I’m saying a dubious method was used to allocate people of no religion to a religion. That may have been bias, just as likely it was convenient incompetence or yet again it may have been accurate – that remains to be seen.

    “You stated that you predicted that Catholic CB would have been 45% – 50% in 2011.”

    No I didn’t. I predicted, based on my rough calculations on how the population is growing, that the Catholic – Protestant split would be 45% ( C ) – 50% (P), and that any differences in that would probably be as a result of immigration/emigration.

    “However when in 2010 the largest survey that takes place in Northern Ireland had 40% saying they were from the mainly Catholic community, 50% the mainly Protestant community and 9% other it seems rather dubious that the Catholic CB population would have been anywhere near 50%”.

    It’s a table from a report which excludes over a sixth of the population from the sample – a section of the population which we already know from the school population census that Catholics have been consistently around 53% since 1999 while Protestants and ‘Other Christian’ have declined from 46% to 43% in the same period.

    “I see no reason to see that the under 15 population is not following the same trend.”

    The reason the under 16 population may not reflect the 16+ population is because as all of the stats have shown and I’ve tried to outline, the majority of those at prime child bearing age are Catholics, hence it most likely they’re going to have more children. Look at it this way Protestants are over-represented at 65+ and Catholics at 16-, that is why I included figures for the working age population which excludes both these groups as being more reflective than the figures you posted. However as the number of children is likely to be (very roughly) double the number of pensioners then these figures aren’t likely to be very accurate either. Therefore in light of huge amount of variables I neither have the time nor inclination to factor in, I’ll just ignore them all and stick with my original prediction based on the estimated growth rates for each population. Catholics will be 44-46% and Protestants 49-51%.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve left my copy of the Irish News in the car, but Fionnuala also points out that many of us are being unnecessarily timid when it comes to extrapolating future political effects from census figures.

    She takes the view that the effects of the greening of the west are plain and simple for all to see. Which is true enough.

    Demography is a tricky trade, as this conversation demonstrates. My own view is roughly the same as it was ten years ago: which is that 50+1 (if you are making a pitch on pure sectarian head counts) is not enough.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2002/07/17/census-2001/

    My back of a fag packet calculation is that in those circumstances you need +10 to deal with internal dissenters (the thran, the fearful, the doubtful and the genuinely unionist).

    And of course, if you are choosing that route, you have the opportunity cost of not making the kind of broader, converse pitch to that which Robinson is only starting (from a very long way back) to put together.

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Mick, it depends on whether it’s 50% + 1 excluding the genuine ‘nones’ or including them. One would probably allow Catholics to carry a referendum on their own and the other wouldn’t. Either way its foolish for anyone to be depending on the birth/death rate to carry the referendum. The hope for us ‘United Irelanders’ is the census will show a plurality which may in turn encourage more people to engage in proper debate over the issue instead of reverting to the “it’s never going to happen” comfort blanket.

  • derrydave

    It’s all about starting the conversation for real – once the first border poll is called then it will be incumbent upon the governments to put a proposal together upon which people can vote. What would a United Ireland look and feel like ? How would the transition work ? Detail, detail, detail – then we can start talking with some authority about the likely result.
    We often seem overly focussed on the % of Catholics who would vote to remain within the Union – there is also of course a possibility of a significant % of protestants voting for a United Ireland. People are selfish, and a lot of people will be swayed by the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor. The attraction of low Corporation Tax and higher state benefits are obvious, however there may be others we have not yet uncovered and which may come in to play once we start putting detailed proposals together.

  • JR

    There is also the fact that even without a border poll the 50% +1 Ni will be a much greener place. We have seen the greening of the west we are seeing the greening of Belfast. We will have a SF first minister. I would say there are those in the Unionist community who would prefer to live in a Ui with Enda Kenny as Taoiseach than Ni under Martin McGuinness.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    JR. Exactly the point i made earlier. The party to celebrate the centenary in 2021 is going to be dampened for unionists by the by the knowlege[even though the 2021 census results they look to won't yet have been published],
    When they ‘celebrated the half century, Stormont had a promotional push to britain dwellers to have a free holiday in NI just as Faulkner was about to, or had just introduced internment in ’71. That was complete farce. 2021 will more like a wake.

  • ForkHandles

    To find the religious breakdown of the population, I think it would be more accurate to look at the attendance figures for all the churches in NI. This total could be compared to the total population figures. Do all catholic and protestant churches take attendance figures? Im not sure. But I expect the % of actual catholics and actual protestants added together would be about 10% and the ‘none’ category would be 80%+

  • SDLP supporter

    Having lived in three of the four provinces of Ireland, I am a firm believer in the benefits of the people of all Ireland being united by consent in a (preferably) unitary state.

    However, in response to Derry Dave, I can’t think why the UK government would or should contribute to a White Paper on the merits or otherwise of a united Ireland: they don’t have an interest in the matter and no Westminster government is going to do anything to contribute to the (further) breakup of the Union.

    Fiscally, at the moment, and for the foreseeable future, a United Ireland is not on. The Dublin government is borrowing €40 million a day just to keep the twenty six counties going.

  • babyface finlayson

    Fourcandles
    This is a discussion about religion.
    Why do you have to bring church into it?

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    ‘there may be others we have not yet uncovered which may come into play….’
    DerryDave. Which could include the reaction of the British govt [or English in the possible Scots exit], to hearing of unionist politicians bragging about being subsidised to keep NI’s head above water by taxpayers in the southern part of Britain. There’s the guarantee about the consent principle which underpins the GFA, but that’s principle alone. There’s nothing about financing the continued presence of NI in the Union so subltle tweaks from ther exchequier to ‘perrsude us to clear off may be used over time.