Statistical - Labour Force Survey Religion report 2015

Date published: 25 January 2017

The Executive Office (TEO) today published the Labour Force Survey Religion Report 2015 which examines the labour market characteristics of Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Statistical news release - OFMDFM

Community Characteristics

Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population aged 16 and over who reported as Protestant decreased by twelve percentage points from 56% to 44%, while the proportion who reported as Catholic increased by six percentage points from 38% to 44%. Over this period, the proportion of the population reported as ‘other/non-determined’ has doubled (from 6% to 12%).

In 2015, Catholics comprised a larger proportion of the working age (aged 16 to 64) population, while Protestants comprised a larger proportion of the older (aged 60 and over) population.

Economic Activity and Inactivity

Between 1992 and 2015, there have generally been higher levels of economic activity and lower levels of economic inactivity among Protestants compared to Catholics, although rates have converged, with the same rates reported for both religions in 2015 (working age economic activity rate – 72%; working age economic inactivity rate – 28%).


Over the period 1992 to 2015, Catholics have generally experienced higher rates of unemployment than Protestants, although again these rates have converged over time; in 2015 the unemployment rate was 6% for both Protestants and Catholics.


A consistently higher proportion of working age Protestants have been in employment compared to their Catholic counterparts between 1992 and 2015. This difference has decreased over time, however: in 1992, 70% of working age Protestants and 54% of working age Catholics were in employment; by 2015 these rates were 68% and 67% respectively.

The report and associated data tables can be downloaded at via the Statistics and Research section of the Executive Office website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Media enquiries to TEO Press Office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number on 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
  2. Further information relating to the collection and production of the statistics can be obtained by contacting:
Paul Flynn
The Executive Office
Analysis, Insight & Outcomes Unit
Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Tel: (028) 905 22091

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