Age Profile of the New Assembly

The votes are in and the new MLAs have all signed the register. Some of you will remember back in late 2013, I totaled up the ages of the parties in the last Assembly.

I managed this time to get the ages of 107 of the 108 MLAs which means that this should be a more accurate reading of the current age profile of the Assembly.

Parties

The youngest Assembly group is the Green Party with an average age of 41 for their two MLAs.

Followed not too far behind by the SDLP, with an average age of 44 for their MLAs. This a substantial drop from 2013 when the party group was one of the oldest in the chamber with an average age of 53. Representatives like Daniel McCrossan, Claire Hanna and Nichola Mallon, have all brought the average age of this group down significantly.

The we have the DUP, who like the SDLP have a younger Assembly team with an average age of 48. The departure of Peter Robinson, William Hay and Sammy Wilson for much younger MLAs, have brought the overall age down by 2 years since 2013. (Note these figures do not include Brenda Hale)

Not too far behind we have Sinn Fein and the UUP both at 50 years old each. The UUP average age is down from 55 in 2013, with Sinn Fein rising from just under 48 years of age in 2013. The UUP have benefited from bringing in younger MLAs such as Robbie Butler and Andy Allen. In Sinn Fein’s case, there has been little turn over in their Assembly team, compared to others, which has meant the age has increased by over 2 years.

Then we have People Before Profit and the Alliance Party with an average age of 51 years old for their MLAs. On the Alliance side, they have gone from an average of 55 as MLAs such as Kellie Armstrong and Paula Bradshaw have joined the group.

In terms of sole representatives, Jim Allister is at 63 and the Independent, Claire Sugden is at 29.

Overall, the average age (rough calculation) of the Assembly is just over 48 years of age which is down from 2013.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, I will leave you to debate in the comments section below.

 

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs

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