Thursday 18 March 2010

Births in 2009

NISRA has just released its provisional figures for births in 2009.

The overall number of births, as well as the birth rate (births per 1,000 population) and the TPFR (Total Period Fertility Rate - the average number of children that would be born in a cohort of woman who experienced, throughout their childbearing years, the fertility rates of the calendar year in question) have all turned down again, after a period of increase following the low point of 2000.

As in previous years, the pattern is one of apparently higher birth rates, and a higher TPFR in nationalist areas. The tables blow shows the 26 district council areas ordered according to: (1) their birth rates, and (2) their TPFR.

District councils are coloured green if the child-bearing cohort (average age 29.8 in 2009, thus 21 in 2001) was majority Catholic (by community background (religion or religion brought up in)) in the 2001 census, or orange if that childbearing cohort was majority Protestant in 2001. District council areas where neither community had over 55% of the 21-y.o. in 2001 are left uncoloured.

Birth rates

Of the 'top 10', only one is 'orange', while five are 'green' and four are mixed. In fact, in the top 14 there is still only one 'orange' area! The 'bottom 10' contains six 'orange' areas but only three 'green' ones, and one mixed.

The coefficient of correlation between the birth rate and the percentage of the child-bearing cohort that is Catholic in the 26 districts is a very significant 0.61. The coefficient of correlation between the birth rate and the percentage of the child-bearing cohort that is Protestant is an equally significant minus 0.60.

TPFR

Of the 'top 10', only two are 'orange' areas – four are 'green' and four are mixed. Of the 'bottom 10', six are 'orange', three are 'green' and one is mixed.

Only one 'orange' area has a TPFR above the 'replacement level' (2.10), while 4 'green' (and 4 mixed) areas do.

The coefficient of correlation between the TPFR and the percentage of the child-bearing cohort that is Catholic in the 26 districts is 0.34. The coefficient of correlation between the TPFR and the percentage of the child-bearing cohort that is Protestant is minus 0.33.

Conclusions

Although the figures are not absolutely black-and-white, there is at least statistical evidence that areas that are 'more Catholic' have both a higher birth rate and a higher TPFR than areas that are 'more Protestant'. No real conclusions can be drawn about who, within these areas, are actually having the babies, but it is unlikely if, for example, Newry and Mourne's high birth rate is being sustained by the small (17%) share of its 29 year-olds who are Protestant. Likewise, Carrickfergus's low birth rate cannot be entirely blamed on its tiny Catholic population.

It is not unreasonable to draw the conclusion from these figures, that the overall Catholic birth rate is still higher than the overall Protestant birth rate. Since 50.4% of the 21 year-olds in 2001 were from a Catholic community background (against 46.3% who were from a Protestant community background), it is likely that the proportion of the children born in 2009 into a Catholic community background exceeds the proportion born into a Protestant community background. The size of the Catholic community lead is hard to measure at this stage, but the results of the Schools Census suggest that it could be as high as 10%. The next decennial census (in 2011) will throw more light on this.

23 comments:

Gerard O'Neill said...

Dungannon topping the birth rate table is interesting, having hailed from that part of the world way back ...

But one thing strikes me revisiting Dungannon is the high percentage of foreign nationals living there now. As they're almost all in their twenties and many are from 'high TPFR' nations like Brazil and the Philippines, then I wonder how much the higher 'catholic' birth rate is in fact a phenomenon of a higher share of migrants in the local population?

In which case a large part of the divergent birth trends you chart may be irrelevant to the larger Catholic vs Protestant majority debate (and all that goes with it)?

Anonymous said...

Kieron says,

Horseamn,

what says you about the large number of Catholic schools which were today signalled to be closed?

Somewhat suprising?

hoboroad said...

One of the three "rebels" who withdrew their names as potential candidates for the Conservatives after the Hatfield House revelations has now quit the party altogether. The Conservatives and Unionists held a special news conference at their HQ at Weavers Court in Belfast to trumpet Deirdre Nelson's defection from the DUP. But now Mrs Nelson has left the party altogether and is understood to be considering her future in politics.

The Ballymena councillor had been keen to stand in East Belfast, but it's believed she was also touted as a potential runner in North Antrim where she would have been the meat in an Allister Paisley Jr. sandwich.

The Conservatives and Unionists are expected to confirm their remaining 9 candidates in the coming days. But neither Deirdre Nelson nor the other two rebels Sheila Davidson and Peter McCann are expected to feature.

Should Ian Paisley Junior follow in his father's footsteps and become MP for North Antrim, the DUP could soon have two Assembly seats to fill in the constituency. Prior to her defection, Mrs Nelson would have been considered a "shoe in" for one of these jobs, but she now finds herself in something of a political wilderness.

Horseman said...

Gerard,

That's a fair point, and certainly Dungannon has a high rate of 'foreign national' births. The NISRA paper does point this out. But I do not think that the foreign nationals (and their babies) are concentrated only in districts that were majority Catholic in 2001 (before the A8 migrants came). If anything, the foreign nationals should have pushed up birth rates everywhere - even Larne and Carrickfergus. Maybe the 'native protestant' birth rate is even lower than these figures would seem to show?

PS love your blog btw. You've a lot of very thought-provoking stuff on it.

Anonymous said...

Kieron,

Horseman any explantion for the low birth rate in Larne and Carrickfegus - is it simly the elderly age profile?

Mack said...

Gerard

But one thing strikes me revisiting Dungannon is the high percentage of foreign nationals living there now. As they're almost all in their twenties and many are from 'high TPFR' nations like Brazil and the Philippines

The Philippines still has a high TPFR, Brazil's is roughly equal to Ireland's (NI is higher), Portugal and Poland have very low TPFRs.

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&met_y=sp_dyn_tfrt_in&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=country:BRA:IRL:PHL:PRT:POL&tstart=-315619200000&tunit=Y&tlen=47&hl=en_US&dl=en_US

The fact that that many immigrants are in their 20's would make a big difference if the models used to generate the TPFRs don't account accurately for migration. I presume they need to know the age structure of the child bearing cohort and calculate TPFRs on the basis of the ages of mothers.
I would hazard a guess NISRA are better able to keep track of immigrants (who'll need National Insurance numbers etc) than for emigrants and internal migrants. (Dungannon is top of the table in terms of birth rate but falls down in behind Newry in terms of TPFRs, I suspect that without taking recent immigration into account Newry would have had a larger proportion of women of child bearing age than Dungannon?)..

Mack said...

Clarification to the logic in my last comment.

In order to invalidate Horseman's thesis - the TPFR of immigrants would have to be significantly above that of the locals (so as to push up the TPFR in areas where they settle).

Culturally this isn't the case in most of their home countries (and here they face the same financial pressures as everyone else).

The fact that many of immigrants have babies in their 20's might complicate things (as the locals seem to be having babies in their 30's).

NISRA do seem to take some stock of in-migration (with Dungannon and Newry likely swapping places from the easily calculated birth rate, to the more complex TPFR).

The same types of differences between the council areas where there prior to 2004 so I'm sceptical that it can accounted for solely by in-migration. If anyone disagrees - I'd love to hear why!

hoboroad said...

I see UCUNF are set to announce their final 9 General Election candidates tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

You keep on dreaming about nationalists aka catholics getting the upper hand in Ulster.

I wrote the comments on the foreign influx to Ireland and Britain some days ago.

Horseman earlier meant the immigration scenario or muslim scenario to be almost out of the question.

Think of Norway.
Same instant wealth.
Same population-size as the Republic. About same captial size.
Overseas immigration started with pakistanis arriving via Britain.

Sounds familiar??

Now consider this. You demography buffs might get a wake up stunt. THINK IT THROUGH. Immigration is what matters:

41% of all pupils have a different mothertongue:

Norwegians becoming a minority in schools

Anonymous said...

The catholics of the North (Moyle,Coleraine, Limavady) and the West (Strabane,Omagh) are not as dynamics as in the South.In the center of Northern Ireland (Dungannon,Armagh, Craigavon,Antrim,Lisburn) the protestants seem to be more dynamics than averywhere else.

hoboroad said...

Norway is not an EU member state. So it kind of blows away the UKIP case that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union in order to get back control of it's own borders.

James said...

uh!

hoboroad said...

Rodney McCune in East Antrim.
Lesley McAuley in East Londonderry.
Paula Bradshaw in South Belfast.
Foyle is David Harding.
Irwin Armstrong takes North Antrim.
Ian Parsley North Down.
Tom Elliott in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

UCUNF agreed candidates above

Anonymous said...

Reply to Anon at 15:00;

I share your concerns. I can't for the life of me understand why a safe, peaceful and prosperous country like Norway would screw itself with needless foreigners. Just look at what has happened to Britain, France and the Netherlands. If it ain't broke,don't fix it. Why can't governments ever learn this,,,,

Anonymous said...

Why indeed...

hoboroad said...

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=14565&id=107772652581836&l=faccf4869d#!

hoboroad said...

http://www.tribunemagazine.co.uk/2010/03/21/paisley’s-stronghold-is-now-the-key-battleground/

Horseman said...

hoboroad,

Those Parsley pics are the equivalent of political porn. Pleeeaase don't shock us with such awful images again!

;-)

PS, judging by the weather (shirt-sleeves?) some of the pics were probably taken when he was actually campaigning for the APNI last year.

Ivan said...

One point about Catholic immigrants: they would,over time, tend to be absorbed into, intermarry with, and to imbibe the general political ethos of, the indigenous Catholic population.

Paddy Canuck said...

"I can't for the life of me understand why a safe, peaceful and prosperous country like Norway would screw itself with needless foreigners."

Demographics. Most Western countries aren't reproducing at even the rate necessary to maintain their current populations. Estimates I've seen suggest you really need 2-3 workers for each retiree in your country (you're not paying for your own retirement today, you're paying for your dad's or grandfathers... someone way down the road is going to be paying for yours). Norway, like most of us, is bringing in immigrants to increase the labour force. The trick is to manage it in such a way as the children of those immigrants see themselves as primarily Norwegian (or whatever) with a (ethnicity here) background, rather than a stranded foreigner like the stateless "guest workers" of Germany.

Anonymous said...

As have previous waves---the Italians being a good example.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a Provo with an Italian name became one of their biggest touts?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a Provo with an Italian name became one of their biggest touts?