Religion in Northern Ireland

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Religion in Northern Ireland (2011)1

  Catholicism (40.8%)
  Presbyterianism (19.1%)
  Anglicanism (13.7%)
  Non-religious (10.1%)
  Not stated (6.8%)
  Methodism (3.0%)
  Other Christian (5.8%)
  Other religions (0.8%)

Christianity is the largest religion in Northern Ireland. According to a 2007 Tearfund survey, Northern Ireland is the most religious part of the UK, with 45% regularly attending church.2

In recent years, the Roman Catholic Church has seen a small growth in adherents while the other Christian groups have seen a decrease in adherents.

There are also small Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jewish communities. Belfast has a mosque, a synagogue, a gurdwara and two Hindu temples. There is another gurdwara in Derry. Jews in Northern Ireland are small in number, about 500, down from 1,310 in 1967.

Statistics

Map of religion or religion brought up in from the 2011 census in Northern Ireland. Stronger blue indicates a higher proportion of Catholics. Stronger red indicates a higher proportion of Protestants.

The 2001 and 2011 Census figures for Religion (not Religion or Religion Brought Up In) are set out below.

Religion 20013 201114
Number % Number %
Roman Catholic 678,462 40.2 738,033 40.8
Presbyterian Church in Ireland 348,742 20.7 345,101 19.1
Church of Ireland 257,788 15.3 248,821 13.7
Methodist Church in Ireland 59,173 3.5 54,253 3.0
Other Christian 102,221 6.1 104,380 5.8
(Total non-Roman Catholic Christian) 767,924 45.6 752,555 41.6
(Total Christian) 1,446,386 85.8 1,490,588 82.3
Other religion 5,028 0.3 14,859 0.8
No religion 183,164 10.1
Religion not stated 122,252 6.8
(No religion and Religion not stated) 233,853 13.9 305,416 16.9
Total population 1,685,267 100.0 1,810,863 100.0


The religious affiliations in the different districts of Northern Ireland were as follows:

Districts of Northern Ireland by predominant religion at the 2011 census. Blue is Catholic and red is Protestant.
District 20015 20116
Catholic Protestant and other Christian Other Catholic Protestant and other Christian Other
Antrim 35.2% 47.2% 17.6% 37.5% 43.2% 19.2%
Ards 10.4% 68.7% 20.9% 10.9% 65.4% 23.6%
Armagh 45.4% 45.5% 9.1% 44.8% 43.0% 12.2%
Ballymena 19.0% 67.8% 13.3% 20.4% 63.3% 16.3%
Ballymoney 29.5% 59.1% 11.3% 29.6% 56.7% 13.6%
Banbridge 28.6% 58.7% 12.7% 29.4% 55.3% 15.3%
Belfast 42.1% 40.3% 17.5% 41.9% 34.1% 24.0%
Carrickfergus 6.5% 70.4% 23.1% 7.6% 67.2% 25.2%
Castlereagh 15.8% 64.9% 19.3% 19.5% 57.3% 23.2%
Coleraine 24.1% 60.5% 15.4% 25.0% 56.8% 18.2%
Cookstown 55.2% 38.0% 6.8% 55.1% 34.0% 11.0%
Craigavon 41.7% 46.7% 11.6% 42.1% 42.1% 15.8%
Derry 70.9% 20.8% 8.4% 67.4% 19.4% 13.1%
Down 57.1% 29.2% 13.7% 57.5% 27.1% 15.4%
Dungannon 57.3% 34.9% 7.7% 58.7% 29.8% 11.5%
Fermanagh 55.5% 36.1% 8.4% 54.9% 34.3% 10.8%
Larne 22.2% 61.9% 15.9% 21.8% 59.7% 18.5%
Limavady 53.1% 36.1% 10.7% 56.0% 34.3% 9.7%
Lisburn 30.1% 53.6% 16.4% 32.8% 47.9% 19.3%
Magherafelt 61.5% 32.0% 6.5% 62.4% 28.3% 9.3%
Moyle 56.6% 33.8% 9.6% 54.4% 32.3% 13.3%
Newry and Mourne 75.9% 16.4% 7.7% 72.1% 15.2% 12.7%
Newtownabbey 17.1% 64.5% 18.4% 19.9% 57.8% 22.3%
North Down 10.0% 64.5% 25.5% 11.2% 60.3% 28.5%
Omagh 65.1% 26.3% 8.6% 65.4% 24.8% 9.8%
Strabane 63.1% 30.9% 6.0% 60.1% 30.7% 9.2%


Religions broken down by place of birth in the 2011 census.7

Map showing the proportion of the population in Northern Ireland who stated they had no religion in the 2011 census.
Place of birth Catholic Protestant and other Christian Other Religion None or not stated
Northern Ireland 88.7% 92.9% 49.7% 81.1%
England 2.6% 3.2% 6.9% 6.7%
Scotland 0.5% 0.9% 1.1% 1.6%
Wales 0.1% 0.1% 0.4% 0.3%
Republic of Ireland 3.3% 1.1% 1.8% 1.6%
Other EU: Member countries prior to 2004 expansion 0.4% 0.3% 1.0% 1.4%
Other EU: Accession countries 2004 onwards 3.1% 0.3% 1.8% 3.5%
Other 1.4% 1.1% 37.3% 3.8%


The religious affiliations in the different age bands in the 2011 census were as follows:8

Stated religion for each age in the 2011 Northern Ireland census.
Ages attained (years) Catholic Protestant and other Christian Other Religion None or not stated
0 to 4 44.3% 31.7% 0.9% 23.2%
5 to 9 45.5% 36.1% 0.7% 17.7%
10 to 14 45.9% 37.9% 0.6% 15.6%
15 to 19 44.8% 37.6% 0.6% 17.0%
20 to 24 43.4% 35.2% 0.7% 20.7%
25 to 29 44.8% 33.1% 1.1% 21.0%
30 to 34 44.0% 34.3% 1.4% 20.3%
35 to 39 41.5% 37.8% 1.2% 19.5%
40 to 44 40.4% 41.1% 0.9% 17.7%
45 to 49 40.0% 42.8% 0.8% 16.3%
50 to 54 39.2% 44.9% 0.7% 15.1%
55 to 59 38.1% 46.5% 0.8% 14.6%
60 to 64 35.8% 50.0% 0.7% 13.4%
65 to 69 33.7% 54.4% 0.7% 11.2%
70 to 74 32.9% 56.4% 0.7% 10.1%
75 to 79 32.0% 58.1% 0.6% 9.3%
80 to 84 30.0% 60.0% 0.6% 9.3%
85 to 89 28.1% 61.8% 0.5% 9.6%
90 and over 25.8% 64.0% 0.5% 9.6%


The percentage of respondents in each religious category of the census in Northern Ireland or the area that would later become Northern Ireland. Note that there was a high level of non-enumeration during the 1981 census mainly due to protests in Catholic areas about the Republican hunger strikes. 9
Distribution of religions in Northern Ireland according to the 2011 census.
Catholicism 
Presbyterianism 
Church of Ireland 
Methodism 
Other Christian 
Other Religion 

Christianity

St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Church of Ireland) is the seat of the head of the Anglican Church of Ireland.
St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Roman Catholic) is the seat of the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Armagh.

Christianity is the main religion in Northern Ireland. The 2011 UK census showed 40.8% Roman Catholic, 19.1% Presbyterian Church, with the Church of Ireland having 13.7% and the Methodist Church 3.0%. Members of other Christian churches comprised 5.8%, 16.9% stated they have no religion or did not state a religion, and members of non-Christian religions were 0.8%.14

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland is the largest single church, though there is a greater number of Protestants and Anglicans overall. The Church is organised into four provinces though these are not coterminous with the modern political division of Ireland. The seat of the Archbishop of Armagh, the Primacy of Ireland, is St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, closely linked to the Church of Scotland in terms of theology and history, is the second-largest church and largest Protestant denomination. It is followed by the Church of Ireland (Anglican), which was the state church of Ireland until it was disestablished by the Irish Church Act 1869. In 2002, the much smaller Methodist Church in Ireland signed a covenant for greater co-operation and potential ultimate unity with the Church of Ireland.10

Smaller, but growing, Protestant denominations such as the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland amongst Presbyterians and the Open Brethren are located in many places. The Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland and the Assemblies of God Ireland are also organised on an all-Ireland basis, though in the case of the AOG this was the result of a recent reorganisation.11

Minor religions

Islam

While there were a small number of Muslims already living in what became Northern Ireland in 1921, the bulk of Muslims in Northern Ireland today come from families who immigrated during the late 20th century. At the time of the 2001 Census there were 1,943 living in Northern Ireland,12 though the Belfast Islamic Centre claims that by January 2009, this number had increased to over 4,000.13 The Muslims in Northern Ireland come from over 40 countries of origin, from Western Europe all the way through to the Far East.14 This situation is reflected in comparably complex institutional arrangements.15

Judaism

The earliest recorded Jew living in Northern Ireland was a tailor by the name of Manuel Lightfoot in 1652. The first Jewish congregation in Northern Ireland, Belfast Hebrew Congregation, was founded in 1870. In 2006, there are about 300 Jews living in Northern Ireland.16

Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í Faith in Northern Ireland begins after a century of contact between Irishmen and the Bahá'í Faith beyond the island and on the island.171819 The members of the religion elected its first Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assembly in 1949 in Belfast.20 The Bahá'ís held an international conference in Dublin in 1982 which was described as “…one of the very few occasions when a world event for a faith community has been held in Ireland".21 By 1993 there were a dozen assemblies in Northern Ireland.22 By 2005 Bahá'í sources claim some 300 Bahá'ís across Northern Ireland.23

Neo-paganism

Hinduism

Hinduism is a relatively minor religion in Northern Ireland with only around 200 Hindu families in the region.24 There are, however, 3 Mandirs in Belfast.

History

The Troubles

Main article: The Troubles

The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from approximately 1968 to the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998. Violence nonetheless continued beyond this period and still manifests on a small-scale basis.25

The principal issues at stake in the Troubles were the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the relationship between the mainly-Protestant Unionist and mainly-Catholic Nationalist communities in Northern Ireland. The Troubles had both political and military (or paramilitary) dimensions. Its participants included politicians and political activists on both sides, republican and loyalist paramilitary organisations, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), the British Army and the security forces of the Republic of Ireland.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Census 2011: Religion: KS211NI (administrative geographies)". nisra.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tearfund Survey". BBC. 
  3. ^ "Census 2001: Religion (administrative geographies)". nisra.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Census 2011: Key Statistics for Northern Ireland". nisra.gov.uk. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Census 2001". Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Census 2011". Retrieved 19 January 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.ninis2.nisra.gov.uk/Download/Census%202011_Excel/2011/DC2253NI.xls
  8. ^ http://www.ninis2.nisra.gov.uk/Download/Census%202011_Winzip/2011/DC2116NI%20(a).ZIP
  9. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/ni/religion.htm
  10. ^ "Church of Ireland/Methodist Church Covenant". 
  11. ^ Launch of the Assemblies of God Ireland eyeoneurope.org, accessed 31 December 2009
  12. ^ Northern Ireland Census 2001 Key Statistics
  13. ^ Belfast Islamic Centre
  14. ^ Belfast Islamic Centre
  15. ^ Scharbrodt, Oliver, "Islam in Ireland: organising a migrant religion". 318 – 336 in Olivia Cosgrove et al. (eds), Ireland's new religious movements. Cambridge Scholars, 2011; ISBN 978-1-4438-2588-7
  16. ^ "Ireland: Virtual Jewish History tour". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "Baha'is mark killing of founder". belfasttelegraph.co.uk. 12 July 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  18. ^ Palin, Iain S. "The First Irish Bahá'ís". U.K. Bahá'í Heritage Site. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2010. dead link
  19. ^ Armstrong-Ingram, R. Jackson (July 1998). "Early Irish Baha'is: Issues of Religious, Cultural, and National Identity". Research Notes in Shaykhi, Babi and Baha'i Studies 02 (4). Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "History and Inspiration". CommuNIqué-Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland (Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland) (106). 1 June 2005. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "Book Review; The Faiths of Ireland by Stephen Skuce". CommuNIqué – Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland (Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland) (123). 1 December 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  22. ^ Momen, Moojan. "Baha'i History of the United Kingdom". Articles for the Baha'i Encyclopedia. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "Religious Education Core Syllabus". Statements on Matters of Public Interest / Concern. Bahá'í Council for Northern Ireland. 25 November 2003. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2010. dead link
  24. ^ Programme 1 – Indian Community bbc.c.uk, accessed 10 January 2009
  25. ^ "Draft List of Deaths Related to the Conflict. 2002–". Retrieved 31 July 2008. 

External links


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