Statistics which show how similar we are

[This is taken from A Note from the Next Door Neighbours, the monthly e-bulletin of Andy Pollak, Director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh and Dublin]

Why do governments so often choose to release some of their most interesting publications in the ‘dog days’ of the summer holidays? At the end of July the two Statistics Offices in Belfast and Cork quietly published the fourth edition of their compilation Ireland, North and South: A Statistical Profile1. Inevitably the media missed it completely (or weren’t interested anyway). So here, two months late, are a few titbits from this carefully assembled comparison of statistics (which are usually for the period up to 2006-2007).

The first thing to say is that the overall impression is of two societies which are very much alike in most important respects. I noted the words ‘similar’ and ‘very similar’ in the commentaries on everything from population growth to the age when mothers give birth (the two Irish jurisdictions continue to have the highest birth rates in Europe); from housing stock to household size and expenditure; from rates of heart disease to cigarette smoking and drug use; from falling unemployment rates to the collapse of agricultural employment; from broadband use to the purchase of ‘luxury’ cars.

One of the most telling, if slightly surprising, indicators of the coming together of the two societies is in the lists of the most popular babies’ names. Despite what one might suppose – that English-sounding names would predominate in the North with Irish-sounding names more common in the South – the choice of children’s names is remarkably similar in both jurisdictions, with Chloe, Katie, Emma, Jack, James and Conor dominating the lists (the main exceptions are Sean and Ciara in the South and Matthew in the North).

The relatively few differences are interesting but often unsurprising. Crime is rising in the Republic but falling in Northern Ireland. Alcoholic drink consumption, on the other hand, is going down in the Republic but increasing in the North. Twice as many people live in local authority rented housing in the North compared to the South, with overcrowding worse in the Southern social rented sector than in the Northern. The number of ‘curative care’ hospital beds per head of population is much higher in the North, but then the Republic has the lowest proportionate number of such beds of any European country outside Spain and Finland.

Over one-third of people employed in Northern Ireland work in the public sector, compared to just over a fifth in the Republic. On the other hand, the gap between higher public sector and lower private sector wages in the South is double what it is in the North. In the Republic 1.6% of those not in the labour force are unavailable for work because of sickness or disability compared to a massive 9.4% in Northern Ireland (I have never fully understood why the North’s sickness and disability rates are so high – is this a legacy of the ‘Troubles’?).

One area where there are major differences is in the economy. The Celtic Tiger effect is most obvious in the statistics for the growth of new VAT-registered enterprises: the number of such companies rose by 33% in the Republic between 2001 and 2006, but only by 9% in the North. Manufacturing exports as a percentage of Gross Value Added in the Republic stood at nearly 54% in 2005 (they were a huge 76.5% four years earlier), compared to only 19.3% in Northern Ireland (almost unchanged since 2001). Overall trade between the two jurisdictions rose by 65% in the fifteen years up to 2007.

Another area of significant differences is education. The first striking differential is in the numbers going to school. Pupil numbers in the Republic of Ireland rose by 0.5% in 2000-2006, whereas they fell by over 5% in the same period in Northern Ireland. At primary level the difference was even more marked: primary pupil numbers in the Republic rose by 3.6%, whereas they fell by 6.5% in the North.

The figures also show that the South is far more effective at keeping its young people in school than the North. Of the nearly 56,900 students who in 2004 took the Junior Certificate exam in the South (aged 15-16), 54,100 went on to take the school-leaving Leaving Certificate two years later. In striking contrast, of the more than 26,000 school students who sat the GCSE in 2004 in Northern Ireland, only 11,750 – just 45% -survived to sit A-Levels two years later (although this latter figure does not include the significant number who went on to take their A-Levels in further education colleges).

Overall these North-South statistics for 2000-2007 bear out the conclusion of a fascinating 2005 study of values and attitudes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland based on data from the European Values Surveys and European Social Surveys between 1999 and 2003. The authors, Tony Fahey, Bernadette Hayes and Richard Sinnott, concluded: “The two societies and the two traditions are characterised by major similarities as well as by self-evident differences. Put another way, the grounds for consensus within and between the two societies are almost as extensive as the grounds for conflict.”2

Andy Pollak

1Ireland North and South: A Statistical Profile, Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency (NISRA)

2 Tony Fahey, Bernadette Hayes and Richard Sinnott, Conflict and Consensus: A study of values and attitudes in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Institute of Public Administration, Dublin.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Theres no such thing as an Irish people

  • Hugh Dubh Oneil

    sure theres not.LOL

  • PJ Cahill

    There are no such things as English people

  • Steve

    Me next

    Umm….

    Theres no such thing as ….people

    Codeword List: alright who has been telling the code people

  • Greenflag

    There’s no such thing as an American people or Russian people or German people either .

    UMH’s idiotic motive is of course to try to deflect any debate on Andy Pollak’s interesting thread which provides some real numbers to what’s happening North and South in the lives of the people .

    With over 30% in the public sector in NI plus almost 10% in ‘disability ‘ this means that less than 60% are available to do actual productive work ? How can they ever expect to attract investment with those kind of numbers ? Just as well that 6 billion subvention is being maintained .

    One point I did’nt get was the concluding remark

    ‘Put another way, the grounds for consensus within and between the two societies are almost as extensive as the grounds for conflict.’

    Why would there be grounds for ‘conflict ‘ between North and South ? Any ‘conflict’ is , was , and always will
    be within NI as long as that State exists in it’s present ‘undemocratic ‘ format .

    Why the apparent huge drop in those progressing to A-level within NI ? Is this province wide or more pronounced in one community than another ?

    Overall it looks like a tale of two countries -one moving forward and the other barely holding on to what they have and that only with the help of others 🙁

  • RepublicanStones

    I don’t know about people, but there are definitely Trolls !

  • consul

    Theres no such thing as an Irish people

    So ‘Ulster’ is in Ireland after all then.

  • Oilifear

    “Theres no such thing as an Irish people.”

    Well said. As these reports show, it is the Irish people 🙂

  • It’s funny when all these types like ulster’s my homeland go to england they’re immediately seen as Irish and paddies. To the British you’re all Irish. Like the farce when N. Ireland played Scotland recently and the Scots all booed the British national anthem and the Irish ones sang it so proudly, that Bessie herself would have shed a tear.

  • Driftwood

    Greenflag, the Higher Leaving Cert in the Republic, I believe includes those on applied courses and trades. A levels are just the tip of the FE iceberg in NI. There is an abundance of HNC’s Diplomas etc for the post 16 group up here.

    The ‘disability’ figure is staggering though. I’d like to see a breakdown of the actual ‘illnesses’ that constitute DLA etc. Of course there are the manipulation of the unemployment figures by the vast range of public sector bodies duplicating each others “work” in this regard.
    On a personal level, I think people in both parts of Ireland and GB have a lot more in common, socially anyway, than with anywhere else on the planet.

  • perry

    Worth noting the education info. It’s a pity that Catriona hadn’t have the courage to go all out for the best in class Irish-Finish system with general education to 15, a year of catch-up/life-skills and a two years of vocational or academic specialism. Proven elsewhere, an answer to our 11+ concerns and buy-off-the-shelfable from our southern neighbour.

    If the CCMS were to take up the “southern” system wholesale and at the same time go inter-denominational as mooted I (for one) would be a very interested (prod dad) potential customer.

  • Driftwood

    Perry
    CCMS will not exist this time next year. It’s to be subsumed in to the new Education and Skills Authority. CCEA set the curriculum, and most academic exams.It will be subsumed also, along with the ELB’s. The Republics system is mirrored in Scotland. With NI only slightly different from England and Wales. Except for selection at 11 of course. And of course North Armagh has the ‘Dickson Plan’ So it goes…

  • Greenflag

    Driftwood

    ‘ ‘I’d like to see a breakdown of the actual ‘illnesses’ ‘

    I’m sure that for a significant number the difference between what they can earn in the ‘market ‘ is not significantly higher than what they can get in welfare .

    Tough one to crack – But the first step has to be to create a dynamic private sector . How to do that is of course another story and requires the type of political will which is entirely absent from the ‘ethos’ that surrounds NI politics.

  • 9 County Ulster is my homeland

    Maybe the main difference is that there is a higher percentage of people in the 6 counties wishing the die an englishman. Although hold on a second, I forgot the likes of John Bruton and Pat Kenny, I take it back, there are colonised slaves across the whole of Ireland, north and south.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Theres no such thing as an Irish people”

    UMH, there ye go again, for there is no such thing as a ‘British’ people either!

    (As if they went about proclaiming so, to all and sundry, including the Romans, all those millenia ago!)

    The same blood, spit, and spunk unites us all in these islands, but no man is subserviant to another man or his creed!

    Do more reading!

    (Hibernia – (the land of winter) was always here, as well as here people!

  • DC

    “In the Republic 1.6% of those not in the labour force are unavailable for work because of sickness or disability compared to a massive 9.4% in Northern Ireland (I have never fully understood why the North’s sickness and disability rates are so high – is this a legacy of the ‘Troubles’?).”

    Trouble yes – that 9.4% turn up in and around Stormont a couple of days, I think it’s Monday and Tuesday – ask them yourself.

  • Dave

    “The same blood, spit, and spunk unites us all in these islands, but no man is subserviant to another man or his creed!”

    Well, I’m Hungarian and Jewish by lineage, so thankfully uncontaminated by the common ‘blood, spit, and spunk’ but I fully agree with the libertarian sentiments. 😉

  • silly

    Of course we have a lot in common. Being from Monaghan, I am of course also from Ulster and the Republic. So Ulster’s MY homeland too ! UMH, we are almost brothers 🙂

  • George

    Driftwood,
    the Higher Leaving Cert in the Republic, I believe includes those on applied courses and trades

    Don’t know what you mean by applied courses but it doesn’t apply to apprenticesphips, which are covered by the National Craft Certificate not the Leaving Certificate.

    There are 20 thousand + on apprenticeships.

  • eranu

    “The same blood, spit, and spunk unites us all in these islands”

    eeeewwwww… not the start to friday morning i had been expecting !

  • El Paso

    The All-Ireland final showed how similar we are more powerfully than any set of statistics.

  • Oilifear

    HOLD ON ONE SECOND!! Mr “Quisling” that barks on about traitors and the imminent Euro-invasion is, after all is said and done, an Central-European Jew! Bloody hell, Dave, you’re worse than bloody Dev – or Ganley … or Dev and Ganley combined!!

  • Paddy Matthews

    Driftwood:

    Greenflag, the Higher Leaving Cert in the Republic, I believe includes those on applied courses and trades.

    No, it doesn’t. There’s a separate Leaving Cert Applied which about 3,000 people take each year.

    http://archives.tcm.ie/irishexaminer/2007/05/30/story33910.asp

    Apprenticeships are usually done after the Leaving Cert.

  • barnshee

    “The two societies and the two traditions are characterised by major similarities as well as by self-evident differences. Put another way, the grounds for consensus within and between the two societies are almost as extensive as the grounds for conflict.”2

    More avoiding the issue The two societies nonsense
    Publish the stats on a prod mick basis and lets have a real look

  • Driftwood

    Paddy
    I am unfamiliar with the “applied” system in the Republic. Are there similar courses to City and Guilds, BTEC etc. There are now GCSE courses in Engineering, Construction etc in NI.

  • Greenflag

    GOF ,

    Hibernia – (the land of winter) was always here, as well as her people!

    Factually incorrect . according to what we know of the movements of plate tectonics part of this island ( Donegal to Kerry iirc) was once attached to Newfoundland during the Cretaceous period IIRC .

    As for ‘humanity’ So far as is known the earliest known dwellers hopped aboard this island a mere 7,000 years ago (Sandalstown Co Antrim ) being the first known ‘settlement ‘ . This they could only manage because the mile high glaciers had retreated further north . We probably won’t ever know whether the place was inhabited during the interglacial but probably not as modern man /homo sapiens only ventured into western europe from the east and south east approx 30 to 40,000 years ago .

  • Greenflag

    olifear ,

    olifear,

    ‘a Central-European Jew! Bloody hell, Dave, you’re worse than bloody Dev – or Ganley … or Dev and Ganley combined!! ‘

    Could’nt possibly be . Dave is Ganley . Central european jews are way too bright to be taken in by the Libertas shite 😉

    Dave isn’t clever enough to be of central european jewish ancestry . He’s a dopey mick now just like the rest of us 😉

    This thread is gone to the toilet 🙁 Shame – Andy’s effort deserved better .

  • Paddy Matthews

    Driftwood:

    I am unfamiliar with the “applied” system in the Republic. Are there similar courses to City and Guilds, BTEC etc. There are now GCSE courses in Engineering, Construction etc in NI.

    Why don’t you try looking at the relevant Wikipedia page to give yourself a reasonable idea of what it involves?

    I realise, however, that someone who refers to our Head of State as “an Ardoyne prostitute” is unlikely to be impressed by anything south of the border.

  • Greenflag

    paddy matthews ,

    ‘I realise, however, that someone who refers to our Head of State as ‘an Ardoyne Prostitute”

    Did he really ? Someone needs to donate a brain cell or two to the poor lad 🙁

    Regardless of the lady’s status she won’t be looking for a 3 million pound increase in her annual ‘compensation ‘ which I read is the figure now being demanded from her loyal taxpayers by UMH ‘s Head of State- none other than Queenie herself .

    I can already see UMH digging deep into his loyalist pockets with tears streaming from his eyes thinking of poor Queenie having to suffer a financial indignity in not being able to pay her way . Such loyalty such subservience deserves not to go unrecorded . UMH should be recommended for a CBE at the very least 😉

    I just hope he’s not one of those ultra loyalists from West Belfast who are absconding with a million pounds of her majesty’s Government’s taxes by ‘importing ‘ cheap diesel from the Republic .

    That would make him an ahem pimp ?

  • Dave

    Know your enemy, Greenie: I’m opposed to the EU and Ganley is extremely pro-EU. Ganley is pro-EU but opposed to the Lisbon Treaty for solid reasons that he has outlined. I wish I was Ganley – his helicopter would come in useful and he has approximately 70 or 80 million more in his bank account than is in mine. But then again, I have more hair.

  • Greenflag

    David ,

    ‘I’m opposed to the EU’

    I gathered that ;). You’ve made yourself perfectly clear at least from your own perspective . However your ‘rationale ‘ for your opposition seems to me at least to be a jumble of ‘sovereignty issues ‘ mixed with fear of a European super power based on some notion of the ultimate sanctity of the ‘nation ‘ state . While I value the rise of the ‘nation ‘state as part of a general evolution of democratic values throughout the world, at the same time history has shown us that the ‘glorification ‘ of the ‘nation ‘ above our common human values can and has led many countries down the path of destruction both of themsleves and their neighbors.

    ‘Ganley is extremely pro-EU.ot

    Not quite . Ganley is pro EU only in so far as the EU remains an ineffective conglomeration of european states with little cohesion and thus unable to challenge or put a damper on American ‘domination ‘ of world politics and America’s ability to intervene anywhere it sees fit .

    My view is that a European ‘super power’ would/could be a strong safeguard along with the USA for the world’s democracies and the newer emerging democracies both in Eastern europe and elsewhere.

    We’ve seen where American unilateralism has led the USA these past several years . The world will be a safer place when we eventually get back to a multi polar world . And in that context the EU along with China , Russia , Japan , India and Brazil will be the main players .

    Hopefully Ireland’s small role in all of this will be to act as a ‘lubricator ‘ between ‘red claw capitalist’ USA and a mainly social democratic EU . Although with politics moving in the direction they appear to be right now in the USA we may soon see the beginning of a return to a more equitable democracy in the USA .

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Hibernia – (the land of winter) was always here, as well as her people!”

    Sorry Greenflag, maybe you are being a little pedantic.

    I should probably rephrase that to….

    According to modern carbon dating methods, the study of geology in relation to the age of the earth etc… the pattern and similarity of ancient human settlements within these islands along the coasts, etc… the isle of Hibernia (aka Ireland) was already an island in the North Atlantic Ocean prior to the appearance of Humanity (aka Homo Sapiens) who arrived here and the island of Britain probably by the seas of the western seaboard of the North Atlantic from Africa via Iberia!

    …..any better?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    ….of Britain probably by the seas of the western seaboard of the North Atlantic from Africa via Iberia 7000 to 9000 years ago approx!

    Iberia – Ivernia – Hibernia, note the origins are significant. The Devil is in the detail!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Iberia – Ivernia – Hibernia, note the origins are significant. The Devil is in the detail!”

    …oh and not forgetting the Greek name Ierne!

  • Greenflag

    will get back to you later GOF

  • Greenflag

    GOF ,

    the isle of Hibernia (aka Ireland) was already an island in the North Atlantic Ocean prior to the appearance of Humanity (aka Homo Sapiens) who arrived here and the island of Britain probably by the seas of the western seaboard of the North Atlantic from Africa via Iberia!

    …..any better?

    Eh No well a little 😉

    Ireland became an island some 12,000 years when the Irish fresh water sea was inundated with ocean salt water and the land bridge with Britain was submerged .

    The earliest known fossils of Homo Sapiens are some 170,000 years old from NE Africa.

    ‘probably by the seas of the western seaboard of the North Atlantic from Africa via Iberia!.

    We know that paleolithic people started moving north and west and east out of their ice age refuges in SW France, Northern Italy and the Balkans . Megalithic stone cultures are found all around the European coasts from the eastern mediterranean to scandinavia . Not sure about surviving ‘megaliths ‘ along the North African coastline but it’s credible .

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Maybe I should have put it simpler Greenflag…

    It is very possible that Ireland was already an island when settlers (Homo Sapiens) first arrived here via the Western seaboard circa 9000 years ago!

    (The warming of the planet after the mini ice age caused the sea levels to rise around 12000 years ago making Ireland an island!)