A Portrait of East Belfast
On census day 2001 the total population of East Belfast was 79261. With the addition of Dundonald, within the amended boundary, this figure will now be considerably more that this.
Of the resident population, 20% were under 16 years old which is just under the NI total of 23.6%, whicle 24.1% were aged 60 and over, which on this occasion is well over the NI figure of 17.6%. The average age of the population was 40 years, compared to the NI average of almost 36. The constituency is therefore has a population that is slightly older that the NI average.
When it comes to gender, East Belfast is tipped in favour of the female of the species with 46.9% of the population being male and 53.1% female.
Of those persons aged 16 years and over, 30.5% were single (ie never married) compared to the NI total average of 33.1%, suggesting that local residents are slightly more successful/enthusiastic about marriage.
With regard to religious affiliation, in 2001 84.6% of the population described themselves as being from a Protestant/Christian background, with 9.9% being Roman Catholic with 5.5% not identifying with either of the main traditions.
In 2008, 1085 births were registered to those living in East Belfast. Of these, 53% were male and 47% female.
Of those registered, just over 42% were born to unmarried couples, which is just above the Northern Ireland average of 39%. The teenage birth-rate was 19% which again was slight above the Northern Ireland figure of 16.6%. The average age at which a mother gave birth was 30 which was in fact a year older that the NI average, while the same statistic for fathers was 32, which equated with the NI figure.
In the same year 928 deaths were registered. The average age was 81 which was just above the Northern Ireland average of 79, while at the same time the percentage of deaths made up of those under the age of 75 was 30.9% compared to the Northern Ireland average of 37.75
In the year 2008/09, 5235 offences were reported to the PSNI regarding East Belfast. The burglary rate was 95.9 (i.e. per 10,000 of the Population) compared with a NI average of 70.3. At the same time however, the rate of theft was 138.2 compared with an NI average of 147.8. Criminal Damage rate was 178.7 which was slightly higher than the NI average while violent crime was also slightly higher than average, at a rate of 192.
Police Stations serving the East Belfast constituency are located at Dundonald, Strandtown, Willowfield, Lisnasharragh, Garnerville and Castlereagh while the PSNI HQ is also located within the constituency.
In 2001, looking at the population aged 16-74, 19.5% had degree level or higher qualifications, while at the same time 56.9% had no or low levels of qualifications (i.e. GCSE/GCE/CSE/NVQ1 or GNVQ Foundation).
For school leavers aged 16 and over in 2008, 62.8% achieved at least 5 or more GCSEs at grade C and above, 38.4% went on into Higher Education and 33.0% went into Further Education in Belfast East PC.
There were 2630 students enrolled at a Higher Education college in 2008. Higher Education can be defined as education at a higher level than secondary school, usually provided in universities. Of all students enrolled, 62.5% were full time and 37.5% were part time students, while 55.7% were female and 44.3% were male. In total, 35.2% were aged 20 and under, 23.2% were aged 21-24 and 41.6% were aged 25 and over.
There were 6441 students enrolled at a Further Education college in 2008. Further Education can be defined as post-secondary education that is distinct from the education offered in universities. Of all students enrolled, 16.8% were full time and 83.2% were part time students, while 55.3% were female and 44.7% were male. In total, 40.8% were aged 19 and under, 13.2% were aged 20-25 and 45.9% were aged 26 and over.
- Employment, Economic Activity and Social Welfare
In 2001, looking at the population aged 16-74, 62.2% were economically active and 37.8% were economically inactive. These are much in line with to total figure for Northern Ireland. At the same time, 3.8% were unemployed and of these, 36.6% were long-term unemployed.
In 2008 9.8% of adults and 20.5% children under 16 were living in Income Support households; 8.9% persons aged 16-59 were claiming Income Support; 5.8% of those aged 16-59/64 were receiving Incapacity Benefit; and 10.4% of people aged 16 and over were claiming Housing Benefit. Again these figures are much in line with the average Northern Ireland figure
With regard to employment specifically, in 2007 there were 41823 employee jobs in businesses located in East Belfast. Of these, 49% were male full-time; 24% were female full-time; 7% were male part-time; and 21% were female part-time.
In 2008, 154 people from East Belfast completed “Start a Business” training provided by Invest NI. Of these, 63.6% were subsequently offered assistance by the “Start A Business” Programme. Invest NI also offered assistance of £21.99 million and investment of £125.99 million to companies located in the constituency.
In the same year, the median gross weekly earnings for all employees in Belfast East was £363.40. For males the median wage was £400.10 and for females it was £347.30.
When it comes to the issue of Deprivation, government statistics suggest that 23% of the population of East Belfast live in the most deprived Super Output Areas in Northern Ireland.
These figures also suggest that almost 15,000 people could be experiencing Income Deprivation, while as many as 6,000 experience employment deprivation.
On the “Average Super Output Area Rank Measure” East Belfast has a rank of 11 out of 18 constituencies. On the “Income Scale Measure” it has a rank of 12 out of 18 constituencies. Within East Belfast the most deprived Super Output Area is Ballymacarrett (ranked 10 in NI) and the least deprived Super Output Area is Hillfoot (ranked 889 in NI).
At the time of the last census, in 2001 - 23.0% of people had a limiting long-term illness, health problem or disability; 65.5% of people stated that their general health was good; and 12.9% of the population stated that they provided unpaid care to family, friends, neighbours or others.
Life expectancy for males for 2005-2007 was 75.7 years and for females is 81.4 years.
In total 928 people died in 2008 in East Belfast, of all deaths, 27.2% were to malignant neoplasms, 31.1% were to circulatory disease and 14.3% were to respiratory disease. Suicide was registered as the cause of 10 deaths in the same year.
In 2008 26.6% of children aged 0-2 and 62.3% of children aged 3-5 were registered with a dentist in East Belfast.
- Housing, Environment and Transport
At the time of the last census in 2001 there were 34824 households in East Belfast. Of these households: 67.3% were owner occupied and 32.7% were rented; 29.3% were owned outright; 17.7% were lone pensioner households; 7.4% were lone parents households with dependent children; 4.5% of households were without central heating or without sole use of bath/shower/toilet or without both; 5.3% of households had an occupancy rating of -1 or less (i.e. classed as overcrowded); and 2.25 persons per household was the average household size.
In 2008 there were 36771 domestic properties in East Belfast, which were sub-classified as follows: Apartments – 5564; Terraced – 14129; Semi-Detached – 11971, Detached – 5107.
In 2008 there were 676 applications were submitted to DOE Planning Service of which 92.5% were approved.
In 2001 67.2% of households in East Belfast had access to a car or van and 67.2% of persons aged 16-74 in employment usually travelled to work by car or van.
In 2006, 33396 cars were licensed to addresses in Belfast East, 8.0% of which were cars registered to a disabled driver or for transporting disabled people.