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No plans to postpone NI census

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There are no plans to postpone next year's census in Northern Ireland due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials have said.  (PA)

There are no plans to postpone next year's census in Northern Ireland due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials have said. (PA)

There are no plans to postpone next year's census in Northern Ireland due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials have said. (PA)

There are no plans to postpone next year's census in Northern Ireland due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials have said.

South of the border, the national population survey has been put back 12 months until 2022.

However, delaying the count in Northern Ireland, which comes on the centenary of the founding of the state, is currently not under consideration.

The census, carried out by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), collects information every 10 years about people and households here.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

The data is used by central and local government, health authorities and other organisations to plan and provide future services.

The last census was held on March 27, 2011. The next will be a digital-first census and is due to take place on March 21, 2021.

The digital-first approach reflects the changing preferences of Northern Ireland's population and will make it easier for people to complete their census return at a time that suits them.

People will be encouraged to fill out their questionnaire online.

Paper questionnaires and support will be available for those who need it.

A Nisra spokesperson said: "The 2021 census will be a digital-first census with the public being encouraged to fill out the census form online.

"A full census rehearsal was successfully held last autumn and, as set out in recent census legislation, officials continue to work to deliver the census next March.

"In doing so we will continue to be guided by the latest evidence and advice from within government and from public health experts."

The Republic's census, which is conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), was due to take place on April 18, 2021.

Last Tuesday, the Irish Government decided to postpone the census by a year, until April 2022, due to safety fears around Covid-19.

The 2011 census in Northern Ireland revealed 48% of the resident population were either Protestant or brought up Protestant - a drop of 5% from the 2001 census. Some 45% of the resident population were Catholic or brought up Catholic - up by 1%. The remaining 7% say they either belonged to another religion or none.

A further narrowing of the community divide could trigger fresh calls for a border poll.


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