‘National Identity’ and ‘Religious Profession’: The Census in Northern Ireland 2011

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Macourt, Malcolm. P. A.
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ISASR in association with the Study of Religions, University College Cork
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In the new millennium a key issue being addressed in the construction of censuses is: Is it appropriate for censuses to include questions which go beyond matters of fact to involve memory or opinion? Questions which clearly involve opinion are usually either the subject of elections and referendums or are contained in opinion research – perhaps conducted by academics or by a commercial marketresearch organisation. Two inquiries on the boundary between ‘fact’ and ‘matter of opinion’ are those concerning religious profession and national identity. In Ireland religious profession was first introduced into the Census in 1861, national identity was introduced for the first time in 2011. This paper focuses on how far census data can be used to examine whether claimed religion and religion ‘brought up in’ are linked to national identity and what part (if any) residential location, age and socio-economic position play in any such link.
Census , Population , National identity , Religion , Northern Ireland , Opinion
Macourt, M. P. A. 2017. '‘National Identity’ and ‘Religious Profession’: The Census in Northern Ireland 2011', Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions 5, pp. 69 - 90.
©2017, The Author(s).