NI census 2021: Key graphics as results shine light on religion, identity and council area sizes

There is little doubt what the main headline of the 2021 NI Census results was as Catholics outnumber their Protestant neighbors for the first time in Northern Ireland’s history.

If you take a closer look at the statistics, there’s a lot more to discover, from having a passport (one in six say they don’t have one) to using minority languages ​​(88% and 90% of us say they have no knowledge of Irish, respectively). or Ulster Scots) and much more in between.

If you don’t have the time or patience to go through all the details, we’ve got a whole bunch of charts that sum it all up in a bite-sized way.

Browse through:

Religious background

Key result: There are more people in NI who say they were raised Catholic than those who say they were raised Protestant.


Key result: 42% of the population say they are Catholic, 39% Protestant or some other form of Christianity; the greatest of these is Presbyterianism. But Northern Ireland has become more secular since 2011.


Key result: There are three apparent groups, with 32% identifying themselves as exclusively British, 29% as exclusively Irish and 20% as exclusively Northern Irish.

Ethnic group

Key result: Our society is more diverse than ever, with around 1 in 15 people living here being born outside of the UK and Ireland. Only 3% of people did not identify their ethnic group as “white”.


Key result: The number of Irish passport holders has increased from 375,800 people in 2011 to 614,300 in the latest figures. That’s an increase of 63.5%, with Brexit seen as the main factor behind this significant increase.

Knowledge of Irish / Ulster Scots

Key result: 88% and 90% of respondents said they had no knowledge of Irish or Ulster Scots.

mother tongue

Key result: 95% of the population named English as their main language.


Key result: The population of Northern Ireland is 1,903,175, an increase of over 90,000 from 1,810,863 at the 2011 census.

Population by Municipality

key result: Just over 18% of Northern Ireland’s population lives in the urban area of ​​Belfast, followed by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon ​​​​at almost 11.5%. Ards & North Down has the highest proportion of over 65s while Mid Ulster has the highest proportion of under 15s

Population growth since 2011

Key result: The ABC township is growing the fastest, the Causeway Coast and Glens the slowest, and are only marginally larger than they were ten years ago.

population age

Key result: The population is aging. The proportion of the population aged 65 and over has increased by two percentage points to 17% since 2011, continuing the increase from 2001 with 13%.


Key result: There are slightly more women than men in Northern Ireland.

household size

Key result: 31% of households in Northern Ireland are occupied by one person. NI census 2021: Key graphics as results shine light on religion, identity and council area sizes

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