A Study of Religious Residential Segregation in Northern Ireland, 1981-2011
preprintposted on 17.05.2021, 13:41 by Brad Campbell
Using individual level census data along with a temporally consistent geography from the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) this paper sets out to investigate how the intensity and nature of religious residential segregation in Northern Ireland has evolved in the period between 1981 and 2011. The findings of this paper reveal that residential segregation levels increased sharply over the turbulent period of 1981 and 1991, remaining high until 2001, with levels decreasing in the most recent peaceful and politically stable time period leading up to 2011. These trends align with the Smith and Chamber’s ‘ratchet thesis’ (1991) and the empirical findings of previous aggregate census based studied of segregation (Shuttleworth & Lloyd, 2009). Furthermore, long term religious compositional change has contributed to the Catholic community experiencing declining levels of exposure to Protestants thus becoming more isolated over time. As a product of its declining population and in the context of peace, the Protestant community is experiencing enhanced social contact with Catholics over time which has reduced historically high levels of isolation.