The site – http://nireland2001.webs.com/ – contains numerous detailed maps, at the level of province (Ulster), Northern Ireland (six counties), the six counties individually, and all of the main towns. For each area it compares the proportion of the population over 75 years of age to the proportion between 0 and 4 according to Community Background (Religion Or Religion Brought Up In), as recorded in the 2001 Census.
The maps show areas that are majority Protestant (community background) in orange, with the shade deeper or paler according to the strength of the Protestant majority. For areas with a Catholic (community) majority, the same is done but in green. To give a taste of the site, the example of County Antrim is shown below; all the other counties and towns are on the site itself, and are well worth a look [Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh, Derry, Tyrone]
The information is displayed for each ward, of which there are around 500 in Northern Ireland, and thus allows quite a detailed view of the situation.
Map 1: those over 75 years of age at the time of the 2001 census:
Map 2: those between 0 and 4 years of age at the time of the 2001 census:
Quite a few things stand out in these maps – here are a few examples:
- Rathlin Island – the rumoured vote for Ian Paisley on Rathlin may have been true, because a majority of those over 75 were Protestant (community). But their grandchildren's generation is over 90% Catholic (community)! However, as the ward includes both Rathlin and Bonamargy on the mainland, it is hard to draw conclusions about the island itself.
- South East Antrim – deeply orange-coloured amongst the over-75s, but much paler and less homogenous amongst the children.
- Look at how the green tide is spreading south from the Glens – Carnlough, which is less than 70% Catholic (community) amongst its old people, is over 90% Catholic (community) amongst its children. Glenarm, majority Protestant (community) amongst its old people, is over 50% Catholic (community) amongst its young. Glenravel (in Ballymena Borough) is even more dramatic – its old people are over 50% Protestant (community), but its young people are over 70% Catholic (community).
- The North-West electoral area of Antrim Borough has only one majority-Catholic (community) ward – Toome – amongst its old people, but four out of the five wards have a Catholic (community) majority amongst its young.
- Crumlin – as many know – has seen a dramatic change in its religious demographics, as has Rasharkin too.
Two maps also show a simple majority-Protestant or majority-Catholic image of Northern Ireland as a whole. The difference between the older people (map 3) and the younger people (map 4) is stark, and is reminiscent of the sea-shore as the tide comes in, flooding the orange sand with green water and leaving ever-smaller orange islands.
Map 3: those over 75 years of age at the time of the 2001 census:
Map 4: those between 0 and 4 years of age at the time of the 2001 census: