Hamster wheel of demographic politics #3: ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’.

transportation system, bus, car

So, part three of my analysis of the Coulter et al paper. The thing about rigorous political analysis that’s rooted in robust data (and sets don’t come much more robust than the Census) is how it reveals what common or garden journalism routinely misses. We have seen how the Catholic population seems to have reached its zenith, well short of the fabled 50%+1. And a rise (overall) in those describing themselves as Irish and Northern Irish and a fall in …

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Hamster wheel of demographic politics #2: In spite of Brexit, Britishness still predominates in Northern Ireland

nature, plant, leaf

The response to the first part of what looks like it might be a three part series my analysis of the latest academic output on the NI Census of 2021, was distinguished by a lot of people asking who ever said that demography matters? The critical before and after commentary of the last three censuses documented in the Slugger archives are unambiguous. Mitchel McLaughlin predicted on 16th December 2002 Protestants would dip below 50%, and were “nervous and uncertain”. Three …

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Hamster wheel of demographic politics: What if we’ve passed the peak number of NI Catholics?

hamster, cage, faces

Like reading the last page of a novel first, the idea of an inevitable united Ireland is like suggesting that if you know how the books ends why have a plot? This may explain why, twenty five years on, an outline pitch for Irish unity has yet to be proposed. The inevitability myth is a consistent marker for an Irish brand of having your cake and eat it style populism. All the drama with fraction of the effort it would …

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#Census2021: Adding to the count, new census data

two black-and-white birds

Dr Paul Nolan is an independent researcher based in Belfast. He writes on conflict societies, social trends and demography. The publication of the Census 21 data last year proved to be a watershed moment for Northern Ireland. It showed that on the centenary of the state, a state established to provide the security of built-in majority for unionists, the Catholic population had become larger than the Protestant population. On 31 May NISRA released a new cache of data which shows …

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#Census2021: A first look shows new waves of identity innovation and an ageing society…

usa, business, new

Dr Paul Nolan is an independent researcher based in Belfast. He writes on conflict societies, social trends and demography. The first thing to be said about the census results published today is that it is a miracle of sorts that we have them at all.  At the beginning of the 2021 the pandemic seemed to make it too difficult for a census to be conducted.  The Irish census was pushed back to 2022 and so too was the Scottish census. …

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Census results released…

Macro photography of water and sunflower oil in different variations

The long-anticipated Census results are now out. You can find them here. The top line figures are 45.7% catholic compared to 43.48% Protestant We will have more posts on the census once people have had a chance to analyse the results in more detail. Brian O'NeillI help to manage Slugger by taking care of the site as well as running our live events. My background is in business, marketing and IT. My politics tend towards middle-of-the-road pragmatism, I am not …

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What tomorrow’s census results will tell us (and just as importantly what they will not)…

animal, wool, goat

If 2001 and 2011 are anything to go by some things are better said before the Northern Ireland Census results are released rather than after, when the parties [Any one in particular? – Ed] have got their talking points memos into the local newsrooms. TPMs are produced mostly for narrow political purposes rather than for establishing useful facts through careful examination of data which a shrinking and impoverished local media are increasingly unable or unwilling to produce. In the past …

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