Northern Ireland

NI number-crunchers celebrate World Statistics Day

World Statistics Day

With World Statistics Day being held on Wednesday, the NI Statistics and Research Agency has released some facts and figures about local life. Test your knowledge.


1.) What's in a name...

What's the most common surname in Northern Ireland?

  1. Campbell
  2. Murphy
  3. Kelly
  4. Anderson

2.) Boys, boys, boys

What's the most common male Christian name in Northern Ireland?

  1. John
  2. Michael
  3. Jack
  4. Conor

3.) Girls, girls, girls

And what's the most common female Christian name?

  1. Katie
  2. Chloe
  3. Mary
  4. Claire

4.) Money, money, money

What's the average wage for full-time workers in Northern Ireland?

  1. £15,842
  2. £17,027
  3. £23,153
  4. £29,582

5.) Country roads...

What distance do we travel on average within Northern Ireland each year?

  1. 6,000 miles
  2. 9,000 miles
  3. 12,000 miles

6.) Ton-up

Life-expectancy is growing all the time, but approximately how many people in Northern Ireland have reached the age of 100?

  1. 50
  2. 100
  3. 200
  4. 1,000

7.) Have a wild guess...

And finally, what do you reckon was Northern Ireland's population in 2009?

  1. 1,069,244
  2. 1,472,366
  3. 1,788,896
  4. 2,042,627


  1. The answer is Kelly. Famous Kellys include Grace, Gene, Matthew, Luke and two Gerrys.
  2. John may not have been the top baby name for a while, but there are still more of them about. Jack has been the most popular boys' name since 2004.
  3. Katie has been the most popular girls' name since 2003, but they are still outnumbered by Marys.
  4. If your name is John or Mary Kelly and you earn £23,153 a year, you are very average.
  5. It's 6,000 miles, the equivalent of travelling three times around the coast of Ireland.
  6. About 200 people have become centenarians in Northern Ireland, a figure which looks sure to increase in years to come.
  7. The answer is 1,788,896. The overall UK population in 2009 was about 61,792,000, while the Republic of Ireland's population is estimated at about 4.4 million.

Your score

0 - 1 : Lies, damned lies

2 - 4 : Average Joe

5 - 7 : Vital statistics

Did you know that the population of Northern Ireland grows by one person every 42 minutes?

Or that Northern Ireland has one of the highest birth rates in the European Union at 2.0 children per woman of child-bearing age?

It is the UN's first World Statistics Day on Wednesday, and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency has used the occasion to highlight its work.

Chief Executive Dr Norman Caven said the data they gather and analyse throws up some "quirky and interesting information" but their work also has a serious side.

"Reliable and impartial statistics provide invaluable information on a wide range of essential services including health, social care and education," he said.

Dr Caven said the next Northern Ireland census being held in March would form the bedrock of much of their analysis which their statisticians provide for the government.

"Key facts are vital for those who are responsible for the planning and allocation of resources, policy and decision making," he said.

"It is this information that helps government decide where to site a new hospital; where to build a new school; or even where new roads should be constructed."

NISRA is an agency of the Department of Finance and Personnel.

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