Northern Ireland's 2021 census has shown that for the first time in 101 years of history of the region, 45.7% of the population are Catholic while 43.5% are Protestant.

Northern Ireland now has more Catholics than Protestants, according to the 2021 Northern Ireland census. This is the first time in 101 years, since census records began, that Catholics have outnumbered Protestants. 

The 2021 Northern Ireland census shows that 45.7% are either Catholic or brought up Catholic while 43.5% are either Protestant or were brought up Protestant. Those belonging to no religion are about 9.3%.

The resident population has been recorded as 1,903,175, the highest ever in Northern Ireland.

Those identifying as solely Irish come to 33%, an increase from 28.4% in 2011. The number of people identifying as solely British has decreased from 48.4% in 2011 to 42.8%. Those identifying as both, British and Irish, rose from 29.4% in 2011 to 31.5% in 2021.

The 2021 census also shows that there has been an increase in the number of people in Northern Ireland holding an Irish passport. These figures increased from 375,800 people in 2011 to 614,300 people in 2021. That is an increase of 63.5%, consistent with the increased demand for Irish passports since Brexit. The numbers holding a UK passport solely or jointly decreased slightly from 1.07 million in 2011 to 1 million.


The number of Catholics has increased by 0.6% since the 2011 Northern Ireland census. The number of Protestants has fallen by 5% during the same time.

Debate has already started over the census results in relation to the reunification of Ireland. RTE reports that critics see the population's affiliation as a "crude metric to measure sentiment on the constitutional question."

They insist that someone's religious outlook does not reflect their political outlook, be that unionist or nationalist.