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Labour Force Survey 2012 Religion Report

Stormont Executive press release - Office of the First and Deputy First Minister

Published 29/01/2014

The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) today published figures relating to religion analysis of the Labour Force Survey (LFS). 

The Labour Force Survey is a sample survey and similar exercises are conducted in all member states of the European Union. 

Labour force religion figures for 2012 are placed in the context of those from 1992 onwards. 

Demographic Characteristics

In 2012 the religious composition of the population of working age in the LFS was estimated to be 51% Protestant and 49% Catholic. 

In comparison to the Catholic population, the Protestant population had an older age profile with, for example, around three in five people aged 60 or over being Protestant.

Economic Activity

The economically active includes those in employment and those unemployed who were looking for work and available for work. 

In 2012, Catholics comprised 48% of the economically active of working age and Protestants 52%.

The economic activity rates of those of working age in 2012 remained higher for Protestants (75%) than for Catholics (70%).

Economic Inactivity

The economically inactive excludes those in employment and those unemployed looking for work and available to start work.

In 2012 the composition of those of working age who were economically inactive was 47% Protestant and 53% Catholic. 


The unemployment rates of both Protestants and Catholics have fallen over the period 1992 to 2012. In 2012, the unemployment rate of Catholics was 8% compared to 6% for Protestants.

In 2012, 52% of those unemployed were Roman Catholic, compared to 48% Protestant.

In 2012, the unemployment differential between Catholics and Protestants expressed as a ratio of unemployment rates was 1.2, that is, the unemployment rate of Catholics was 1.2 times that of Protestants.

The unemployment gap between Catholics and Protestants has decreased from 9.0% in 1992 to 1.3% in 2012.


In 2012, 47% of those in employment aged 16 and over were Catholic compared to 53% Protestant.

The proportions of working age Protestants in employment over the period 1992 to 2012 have been consistently higher than those of Catholics. However, the proportion of working age Catholics in employment has risen from 54% in 1992 to 65% in 2012. The proportion of working age Protestants in employment was the same in 1992 and 2012 (70%).

The report can be downloaded at:

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