Northern Ireland

Census results show NI public less positive about health than those in Republic of Ireland

The census revealed a lot about national identity
Image caption Researchers compared the results of the 2011 census' for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

People living in Northern Ireland are less positive about their health than those living in the Republic of Ireland.

The finding is contained in a report called Census 2011 Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and the Central Statistics Office (CSO) compared their results to produce a detailed picture of both populations at a single point in time.

They analysed a number of topics.

The 2011 census was carried out on 27 March in Northern Ireland and 10 April in the Republic of Ireland.

The total population of the island of Ireland was 6.4m, 4.6m in the Republic of Ireland and 1.8m in Northern Ireland.

Since 2002, the population of the Republic of Ireland has grown by 17% - two and a half times the rate in Northern Ireland at 6.9%

The median age of the population in Northern Ireland was 37, while in the Republic it was 34.

Nuclear family

The over-65s made up 15% of Northern Ireland's population and 12% of that on the other side of the Irish border.

Married couples with children were the dominant type households in both countries - 32% in Ireland and 28% in Northern Ireland.

There were more cohabitating couples in the Republic - 7.7% - compared to 5.5% in Northern Ireland.

In 2011, there were 56,900 separated and 78,000 divorced people in Northern Ireland, representing 9.3% of those aged 15 and over.

In the Republic of Ireland, the figures were 116,200 separated and 87,800 divorced - 5.7% of those aged 15 and over.

There has been an increase of 20% since the 2001 census in the number of single people in Northern Ireland, which was almost double that of population growth among all people aged 15 and over (11%).

In the Republic of Ireland, the increase in single people since the 2002 census was 15%, lower than the population growth which was 17%.

Catholics represented 41% of the population in Northern Ireland - that figure rises to 84% in the Republic.

Protestants and other Christian denominations accounted for 42% in Northern Ireland.

Terraced housing accounted for 25% of dwellings in Northern Ireland compared with 17% in the Republic of Ireland.

The findings highlight that the most "striking difference" between both jurisdictions was for non-private or social rented accommodation - 15% in Northern Ireland compared to 8.7% in Ireland.

The wholesale and retail sector employed the highest proportion of the population in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Human health and social work and manufacturing were the second and third highest employment sectors in both countries.

The comparison also showed that 6,500 people from Northern Ireland commute to the Republic of Ireland for work - those travelling in the opposite direction totalled 8,300.

While a high proportion of the population in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland said they enjoyed good health in 2011, the proportion of those who considered their health to be good or very good was considerably higher in the Republic of Ireland.


In particular, 62% and 61% of men and women respectively in the Republic considered they had very good health, compared with 49% and 47% respectively in Northern Ireland.

At the opposite end of the scale, a total of 102,100 (5.6%) of people in Northern Ireland felt that their health was bad or very bad compared with 69,700 (1.6%) in the Republic of Ireland, which the researchers said indicated very different perceptions of poor health between the two countries.

Northern Ireland's results for perceived general health were similar to the UK average.

The geographical spread of people with self-perceived bad or very bad health show the rates were highest in Belfast (8.1%), Strabane (7.2%) and Londonderry (6.9%).

In both countries, men were more likely than women to perceive their health as very good and less likely to perceive it as bad or very bad.

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