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NI Census 2021

  • 22-09-2022 9:21am
    Registered Users Posts: 65,398 ✭✭✭✭

    British: 31.8%

    Irish: 29.1%

    Northern Irish: 19.8%

    British and Irish (only): 0.6%

    British and Northern Irish (only): 8%

    Irish and Northern Irish (only): 1.8%

    British, Irish & N Irish (only): 1.5%

    Other: 7.4%

    The number identifying as 'British' has fallen 9% in 10 years. Those identifying as Irish up 4%.

    Is the time right to call a border poll on these figures and the fact that Unionism no longer commands a majority?

    My own view is that it is that it is reasonable to call one in 3-5 years.



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,080 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    Before there can be a United Ireland, there has to be a United Northern Ireland.

    Loyalty in NI is more for the half-crown than the Crown.

    There has to be more integration and more funding guaranteed for a United Ireland before a border poll, and that money has to come from GB, EU, and USA - and lots of it for at least a decade.

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,523 ✭✭✭✭Mr.Nice Guy

    Too early for a border poll on these figures but they show NI is finished if mainstream unionism can't learn to reach out. Neither insular nationalism nor unionism is going to decide the constitutional question, but rather the bloc in the middle which don't have the emotional connection of the big two blocs, and who tend to vote Alliance.

    The historical significance of this census shouldn't be downplayed, however. Those who introduced the border into this country could have provided for a 9-county Ulster, but they considered that option too unwieldy since the numbers for Catholics and Protestants were neck and neck; in other words, like the current figures. They could have had a 4-county Ulster but regarded that as economically unviable. They chose 6 counties to maximise as much territory as possible while keeping the Catholics in check. Those who devised NI would be spinning in their graves at today's news.

    9% drop in identifying as British is particularly eye-opening, and that's without the potentially tumultuous events occurring in Scotland, which may not even be part of the UK by the time the next census rolls around.

    Is NI about to collapse imminently? No, but the cracks are there for all to see. Whether or not the fissures can be repaired is down to mainstream unionism. Will they try? On the evidence of the last few years, also no.

    'It is better to walk alone in the right direction than follow the herd walking in the wrong direction.'

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,499 ✭✭✭✭markodaly

    No, as there won't be a majority in favour of a UI.

    You need to be sure of a win here and we are decades off this.

    Notice that there is a third identity moving up the ranks, Northern Irish.

    It's clear there is a big and growing middle ground who don't want anything to do with the sectarian Green/Orange politics of old.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,852 ✭✭✭✭retalivity

    Wee Seimi Bryson having a predictable meltdown on twitter. How he has become the 'face' of unionism in the north and comes out with crap like this is an indication of how finished they really are

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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,080 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    I think Green sectarianism does not exist in Ireland - well not for the 75% who voted for same sex marriage. Those days are gone.

    In NI, Sinn Fein can try to make hay on sectarianism, but SF would lose significant support from voters down here if they dropped their populism in favour of sectarian drum beating.

    The religious zealots in Ireland would not want anything to do with SF either.

    If SF are seriously pursuing a united Ireland, they should join the Alliance Party.


  • Administrators Posts: 53,037 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    He is not the face of unionism. Bryson is a mouthpiece for a small, but loud minority.

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,523 ✭✭✭✭Mr.Nice Guy

    The NI bloc are predominantly younger, pro-EU, socially liberal, Alliance-leaning. You're lumping them in with older, loyalist, anti-Brussels, anti-everything types. It's a big reach to assume that in a debate on the constitutional question, all of this bloc will swing for maintaining the UK, particularly if doing so means staying outside the EU, and possibly attached as a satellite to an England + Wales that Scotland may have left.

    'It is better to walk alone in the right direction than follow the herd walking in the wrong direction.'

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    All the more reason for Truss to call SF's bluff and agree to one!

    (And this would also really annoy the DUP - so it's a win-win for Truss!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 65,398 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady

    I agree on that.

    The Northern Irish bloc indicates that there are those who will be 'persuadable'.

    I think the time has come for the British to show that they are actually democrats and allow the debate to begin proper. Given that, as happened in Scotland, the 'debate' around an actual poll was pivotal in persuading. The pro Independence vote increased from the low 30's to almost winning the referendum there, once the referendum was called.

  • Administrators Posts: 53,037 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    Yes, they are the pragmatic unionist bloc, open to having their minds changed, but at this stage I would think the majority of it would vote to maintain the status quo.

    But this can of course change, especially as the "benefits" of Brexit etc become clearer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,756 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious

    Even though they may be pro EU, socially liberal etc they may not have an affinity with Ireland.

    People need to have an affinity with Ireland (the 26 county state) if they are going to make the big leap and join us.

    Also not everyone in the 31.8% British is loyalist, anti everything type either.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,184 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    Why is it inevitable?

    If anything the younger generation seem to see themselves as Northern Irish rather than British or Irish. On that basis, far down the line, I could see an independent Northern Ireland. They'll have to sort their economy out first though and stop depending on handouts from London.

    (I say this as someone who would vote for Reunification myself by the way)

  • Registered Users Posts: 65,398 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady

    A generation identifying as Northern 'Irish' and not 'British' are likely going to be persuded to stay Irish in a border poll. Many of this new demographic are throwing off the British tag,

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,184 ✭✭✭Brussels Sprout

    That's very presumptive. Many of them see themselves as Northern Irish. They don't want to be ruled from London or Dublin. Their only hope of having their own country, in the long run, would be to reject a border poll.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,591 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34

    Nothing is inevitable.

    Yes, the 'Northern Irish' cohort is significant, but just because they don't wish to be British doesn't mean that they'd be happy, any time soon, to forgo the NHS and the cushty subvented NI public service jobs, just to identify as Irish in a unified Republic.

    They just might be less rabid about expressing it than your typical yoke from Tiger's Bay.

  • Registered Users Posts: 65,398 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady

    How do you know this?

    There has not been a proposal from Dublin yet on a UI

    This demographic have thrown off Britishness as an identity and see themselves as Irish, albeit 'Northern' Irish. That is significant.

    I am not presuming anything, just making the point that there is now grounds for a poll

  • Administrators Posts: 53,037 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭awec

    This is not a new idea either, the idea of an independent NI ruled by neither Dublin nor London has been around for decades. Indeed, in the 70s this idea of an independent NI (called "Ulster Nationalism") had support from groups like the UDA.

    The idea obviously died off given the polarising troubles that drove people into one of two buckets, but it wouldn't be a massive shock to see the idea grow again in future, though the viability and stability of such a state would have a big question mark over it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,848 ✭✭✭Christy42

    Do we have evidence that a generation is identifying as Northern Irish?

    They seem to have remained relatively consistent in number of the last decade with Irish and other (guessing people from abroad) being the only only taking a large leap. If the younger generation was moving towards Northern Irish identification I would expect them to be growing in numbers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,451 ✭✭✭✭josip

    The 'Northern Irish' identity is a 'having your cake and eating it' demographic. For the past 5 years it has allowed them to enjoy both the benefits of the EU and the UK, sucking both teats at the same time. But how much longer can that continue? There will come some point in the next 10 years when the English government don't need the NI support and there will be a weakening of benefits from that side.

    As regards the census numbers, the trend is your friend. And it's a trend of whopping, tsunamai proportions. Also available in that census will be the age profile of everyone who identified as British only and Irish only and a 12 year old could probably calculate a fairly accurate estimate of what the 2031 figures will be. But if a border poll has not been called before then, the 2031 numbers will make it impossible to postpone.

    But I thought the Good Friday agreement only allowed for a border poll on a United Ireland. An independent NI is not an option?

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,080 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell

    An Independent NI is not an option under the GF agreement - that is certain.

    Also, the UK Gov could start starving NI of funding for, say, the NHS in the interim. They could also start reducing numbers of public employees.

    There is no certainty of continued subsidy for NI.

    The NI protocol, if ever it starts operating, will begin to give figures for the NI economy. Interesting figures they would be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 65,398 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady

    There is zero political weight behind an 'independent NI'.

    Why? Because it has failed at being able to govern itself. The ongoing result of a gerrymandered partition.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,934 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    British identity is in free fall in Britain as well.

    There it only has strongholds in over 70s and immigrant communities.

    In Scotland under 60s Scottish born majority voted for independence, non Scottish born and over 60s, swung it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,043 ✭✭✭Packrat

    Too soon. 10 years if its handled correctly it'll happen. If they make a balls of it it'll be defeated.

    There is an excellent book just out about this exact subject.

    Mandatory reading for anyone interested:

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Those identifying as British and northern Irish decreased , British significantly. The largest unionist block is in over the 65s. Unionism will weaken further as the years go on as the last 10 years have shown.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,934 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    A unionist analyst wrote how the biggest threat to them was young Protestants studying in England or Scotland and getting work there.

    Their parents retiring to the South of England to be near them and their grandparents dying of old age.

    Every demographic born in the North for unionism is leaving,one way or another at rates that no community can sustain.

    Their big and probably only hope is that as it becomes a more diverse society it will help solidify around the Union, like Scotland saw.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,002 ✭✭✭✭murphaph

    I'm not sure about the decades anymore, the way the UK economy is heading. UK Living standards set to be lower than Slovenia's by 2030! Brexit has changed everything. I think we can say with some certainty, that NI will not make it another century.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 65,398 ✭✭✭✭FrancieBrady

    Add the British Attitudes Survey findings that support for NI in the UK itself has fallen from 60% in 2015 to just 49% today and sees a doubling of support for a UI to 30%.

    Unionism is in a dark place. Their strategy seems suicidal tbh.