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Extending the NILS: Making a Full Link to the 1991 Census

The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) is a powerful resource for the research and policy community to investigate the social processes that are changing NI. Because of its history of inter-communal strife, NI is one of the most studied societies in the world. More recently, it has become an exemplar for conflict resolution. Consequently, it is important to understand social, economic, and demographic processes in NI through the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. However, in comparison, with other UK longitudinal studies, the NILS is weaker in backward data linkages.

The proposal rationale is thus for a link to the 1991 Census. Such a linkage will allow analyses of a crucial period of rapid change in Northern Ireland (from 1991 to 2011) by linking the NILS to three Censuses. This longer perspective is of special importance given the nature if the 'Peace Process' and the implementation and monitoring of policy interventions in fair employment and community relations as well as economic restructuring. Opportunities to add other historical administrative data to the NILS will also be scoped if possible. The outcome of the project will be a larger documented NILS dataset and a methodological report on the data linkage.