[ consider in light of :
english prots pushed out of french roman catholic Quebeck ....
american prots pushed out of spanish roman catholic S. Florida .....
Croatia violently becoming one hundred percent roman catholic ..... JP ]
From ............. Catholic International
A new demographic study says that Protestant emigration is likely to be the main factor in the increasing proportion of Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Improved prospects abroad for the better educated will encourage more Protestants than Catholics to emigrate, said the study's authors, Cormac O Grada and Brendan Wash of University College, Dublin.
But the study did not predict when, or if, the Catholic minority would become a majority, which is a key issue in the British-ruled province of 1.5 million people. Catholics tend to favor union with Ireland and Britain has pledged to respect the will of the majority regarding political alliance.
Since 1971, more Protestant than Catholic youths have left Northern Ireland, the study said, while the reverse was true prior to 1971.
An additional factor in the population trend is that the Catholic birthrate remains higher, findings showed. Catholic women have an average of four children, while Protestant women average three, it said. The actual number of Catholics remains approximate, said the study, because many who did not indicate their religion in a 1991 poll may in fact be Catholic.
The study said 38.4 percent of the population claimed to be Catholic in the 1991 census, constituting 43.1 percent of those declaring a religion.
If 50 percent of those who did not state a religion are counted as Catholics, the overall Catholic share would become 43.9 percent, it said. Three decades ago, Catholics formed 33 percent of the population.
Catholic News Service - August 1O, 1995
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