The Younger Europeans

The latest Northern Ireland population forecasts – published today by NISRA – paint an interesting picture of the contrasting demographic fortunes of the two parts of the island. I have created the table below using CSO data for the South (their low migration, low fertility scenario) and the NISRA data for the North:

Over the next ten years it looks like we will have a baby boom in the North and a baby bust in the South. Remarkable divergences on such a small island.

  • kensei

    I have created the table below using CSO data for the South (their low migration, low fertility scenario)

    Are there other scenarios?

  • The CSO projections – and alternative scenarios – are available to download here:

    http://www.cso.ie/releasespublications/po_lab_project.htm

    G

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    They are interesting indeed but what will be more interesting is the inter Norn Iron comparisons in the demographic derby – are the papishes still coming up strong on the outside or are the prods holiding them off after some heavy going?

  • Gerard,

    I know it makes a more interesting story, but taking the CSO’s low migration, low fertility scenario may not be very realistic. Their ‘low fertility’ scenario really is low:

    “TFR to decrease to 1.65 by 2016 and to remain constant thereafter”.

    Admittedly it resembles the TPFR of a lot of other European countries (but when has Ireland ever been typical?). There is no reason why the south should have a lower TPFR than the north. It is usually a bit higher.

    Yet NISRA base their estimate on:

    ” .. the hypothetical “average woman” in Northern Ireland will have 1.95 children in her lifetime”

    Spot the glaring difference?

    Do you realy think that women in the north will have 1.95 children over their lifetime, while just down the road their sisters are only having 1.65?

  • smcgiff

    Mmm – would be a good enough reason for me for a UI! Ye can pay our pensions! :)a

  • Mack

    The projections for Northern Ireland around the late 90’s / early 2000’s all showed falling TPFRs too (most of the interpretations of the 2001 census were based on that trend continuing, but..) – around 2001 they bottomed out and started rising.

    Given that no-one can see the future, the assumptions of the CSO and NISRA are just guesses – this kind of extrapolation won’t actually tell us anything useful.

  • Greenflag

    So the Republic is now at least in matters reproductive producing like protestants and NI is producing like Catholics ?

    I think not . It might be interesting to see if there is any major differential between the productivity of ‘unionist ‘ as opposed to ‘nationalist’ mothers although I think any such difference would be insignificant .

    But perhaps the answer to the difference North and South lies in the relative maternal productivities of both territories maternal recent immigrant populations .

    It’s at least conceivable that immigrants to NI will take a quick look around them at both sets of ‘natives ‘ orange and green and make a decision that NI will be a much happier and productive place with more of ‘us’ immigrants than either of the other lots 😉

    Seriously do the figures tell us anything ‘useful ‘

  • Mack

    Greenflag –

    Nope – these are guestimates with one agency guessing a higher TPFR than the other. Where will the stock market be this time next year? What about house prices in 2016?

  • thereyouarenow

    Anecdotal but so what

    In my travels through Britain and Ireland I see many eastern european women with child and or with children. Fair play to their fertility.
    I would not mind making my contribution but age and life has worn me out !

  • frustrated democrat

    Why does everything in the end become an orange and green head count (excluding smcg), instead of a sensible debate about what it all means for schooling, health, pensions, infrastructure etc. on both sides of the border.

  • frustrated democrat,

    It is a “sensible debate about what it all means for schooling, health, pensions, infrastructure etc. on both sides of the border“.

    If you screw up the projections, then you’ll either get too much or too little investment in schools, hospitals etc.

    My point is that the projections are screwed up, because such a difference in two very similar juridictions (in terms or culture, economy, lifestyle, etc, etc) are not justifiable. One is wrong, or both.

  • Greenflag

    mack ,

    ‘Where will the stock market be this time next year?’

    Well the Dow Jones should be about 10, 600 but it will take one major dive and possibly a couple of smaller dives before then;)

    ‘ What about house prices in 2016? ‘

    House prices in Ireland will be about 65% of what they were at the pinnacle of the boom 😉 unless of course there is another boom before then 😉 in which case the Dail may find itself in geocentric orbit in an attempt to escape an irate population 😉 boom boom as it were 😉

    Horseman ,

    ‘My point is that the projections are screwed up,’

    I see they predict net migration of 1,000 per year every year from 2012 up to 2029 ?

    They must have been using a crystal ball which got repetively jammed at the number 1 in the spreadsheet table .

  • SilverParrot

    @Horesman

    Do you realy think that women in the north will have 1.95 children over their lifetime, while just down the road their sisters are only having 1.65?

    Whyever not? Let’s be honest. They’re mutually foreign countries with largely different cultures. A TFR gap of 0.3 between them is low in comparison to what the gap has been for much of the last, say, 40 years. Not remarkable at all, in terms of just magnitude of a difference.

    Perhaps what you mean to say that we are all becoming more similar on these islands, what with the Republic increasingly watching the same TV channels and reading the same newspapers as the other peoples on the islands, and church attendance plummeting. Would at least be an interesting idea.

  • SilverParrot

    On the theory that unionists breed like the inhabitants of GB but with a time delay, and nationalists breed like the inhabitants of RofI but with a time delay, and considering that nationalists have had a majority of up to about 52% in some age cohorts already, this could be good news. Because it could mean that,

    A) Unionists will lose their majority status and become a mere plurality. Unionist “majority rule” therefore being impossible.
    B) By the 2021 if not 2011 census it could be clear that nationalists will not gain any more and if anything may be set to shrink as a % of the population, and a 50%+1 majority for a united Ireland would be unlikeley in the future (a border poll could establish that).

    This could be a combination of facts that prompts both sides to seek a real “final solution” if you excuse the awful choice of phrase, that respects both sides national rights, whatever that may be.

  • Mack

    SilverParrot & Horseman –

    Whyever not? Let’s be honest. They’re mutually foreign countries with largely different cultures.

    I agree there’s no reason why they couldn’t.

    Mutually foreign countries? – Were you around for the Lisbon debate? Here we were being led to believe we all live in a European super-state – the EUSSR etc! The UK and Ireland largely follow the same economic model, with benefits in Ireland being more generous, but the cost of living being higher (all with an EU framework of women’s rights & employment rights).

    Largely different cultures? – largely identical cultures I’d have thought (with the exception of Orangeism in the north).

    However, when I last worked in the north, in my early 20’s, a good proportion of my co-workers were married with kids. Since I’ve moved south, working in the same industry, I’ve haven’t come across anyone married at that age. Child bearing starts in earnest a good 10 years later…

  • Mack,

    “Since I’ve moved south, working in the same industry, I’ve haven’t come across anyone married at that age.”

    Maybe you’re just moving in better educated circes now? The higher the education level, the later the children.

    Seriously, though, I think the average age of (first) parenthood is not that different north and south. I’d look it up only I couldn’t be bothered just now.

  • Mack,

    Dinner’s not out of the oven yet, so I had a quick look at average ages of mothers (not first birth):

    North: “In 2007, the average age of women at childbirth was 30 years compared with 29 years in 1997, 28 years in 1987 and 27 years in 1977.” (Source, 2007 Annual Report of the Registrar General)

    South: (http://www.cso.ie/statistics/avgagemotherbymaritalstatus.htm); 2006 – 31, 2005 – 31, 2004 – 30.8, etc.

    The southern average ends to be one year older than the northern over the past generation or so.

  • John

    There is a lot of ignorance about the CSO projections here. Just for the record, TFR in the Republic in 2009 was 2.10, by far the highest in the EU and considerably higher than in N. Ireland.

    The CSO’s low-fertility assumption implies nothing about whether it is likely to occur. When the CSO make these projections (usually after each census), they make 3 separate sets of forecasts based on 3 separate fertility assumptions: (a) TFR remaining the same (b) TFR increasing (c) TFR decreasing. They imply nothing about which is the most likely to occur. As it happens, since the CSO projections were published in 2006, far from falling to 1.65, the TFR in the Republic has increased to 2.10.

    In 2008, the number of births in the Republic was the highest for over a century, and the birth rate was the highest in the EU. N. Ireland also has a relatively high birth rate compared with most EU countries, but not as high as in the Republic. The actual numbers of births in the two countries in 2008 was 76,000 in the Republic and 26,000 in N. Ireland.

  • John

    My first line should have read: “TFR in the Republic in 2008 was 2.10” – not 2009.

  • barnshee

    Contraception catchs on in ROI
    Fails to catch on in NI
    Where`s the story

  • Serv

    “Largely different cultures? – largely identical cultures I’d have thought (with the exception of Orangeism in the north).”

    A) “Orangeism in the north” is the majority of the population (unless you want to quibble about definitions).

    B) Northern Catholics and southern Catholics are not that related to each other, at least as measred by TFR, and much besides but that’s another story.

    The idea that Northern Ireland and the Republic have “largely identical cultures” is ridiculous in a “these islands” context. Northern Catholics and southern Catholics are at least as different as the English and Scots overall.