News

Migrant Birth Boom

Thursday, 31 July 2014

BIRTHS to foreign nationals in the Armagh District rocketed by almost 450 per cent over the course of a decade, the Ulster Gazette can reveal.
A total of 2,807 births were recorded during 2011, to residents born outside the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland, compared to just 519, in 2001.
According to the figures released by Oxford University's Migration Observatory, the dramatic increase in the number of migrant births by 2,288 in Armagh over a 10 year period, equates to a staggering rise of 441 per cent.
From the findings, residents born outside the UK and Republic of Ireland, now have a 4.7 per cent share of the local population in Armagh, compared to 0.96 per cent in 2001, which represents a 394.5 per cent increase.
After the UK and Republic of Ireland, the major analysis study on the international migrant population found the most common country of birth of usual residents in Northern Ireland was Poland, followed by Lithuania, India, the USA and Germany.
Locally, in Armagh, the Lithuanian community represented the largest proportion of migrant births in 2011, with 28.6 per cent recorded.
This was then followed by Poland with 21.9 per cent, the USA with 4.6 per cent, India with 2.6 per cent, and Germany with 2.4 per cent. Others represented 39.9 per cent.
Overall, Belfast had by far the largest population of residents born outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland, with 18,414 births recorded, followed by Craigavon in second with 6,712 and Dungannon in third with 5,998.
Over recent years, The Mall Presbyterian Church in Armagh has been working to help involve and integrate migrant families into the local community, by hosting language classes and children's clubs.
Recognising the difficulties being faced by parents with young children wishing to avail of language tuition, the church decided to expand its provision, by offering a creche/children's club to coincide with the classes.
“We have certainly hosted a language class for them for six or seven years and we have also run groups for their children," explained William Scott, an elder at The Mall Presbyterian Church.
“The classes were open until June and would be due to start again in September. We are in the hands, to a large extent, to the Southern Regional College, because they actually serviced the language classes and we are in their hands as to whether they need us.
“It is just a fact of life, we have many more migrant folk in the community and we are more than happy to help and welcome and support them into the community.
“Not very many have actually become members of the church, but we have had folk who have dropped in to services on occasion and sent their children to our Holiday Bible Club each July.
“We make everyone welcome regardless of their background. In our view, folk who come into the area ought to be welcomed, and encouraged to associate themselves with the Christian community in the city, and we would want to play our part in making them welcome in that regard," Mr Scott added.

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