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Catholics outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland for the first time since the partition of the island, census figures show.

Britain’s Census 2021 figures, published on Thursday, show that 45.7% of the region’s population said they were either Catholic or brought up as a Catholic.

The figures for Protestants (and other Christian faiths) was 43.5% while 1.5% were from non-Christian religions.

Northern Ireland had a significant Protestant majority when it was established in 1921 as part of the partition of Ireland. The last census, in 2011, recorded 48% of the population as being either Protestant or brought up Protestant, down five percentage points on 2001.

The Catholic population stood at 45% 11 years ago, up one percentage point on 2001.

The 2021 Census showed 9.3% of the population belonged to no religion - up from 5.6% in 2011.

The publication of the census traditionally prompts debate over what the figures mean for the constitutional future of Northern Ireland.

Some may draw a link between the religious breakdown and public opinion on the potential reunification of Ireland.

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