Ulster - Geography and Political Sub-divisions

Geography and Political Sub-divisions

Ulster has a population of just over 2 million people and an area of 21,552 square kilometres (8,321 sq mi). Its biggest city, Belfast, has an urban population of over half a million inhabitants. Six of Ulster's nine counties, Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone, and the parliamentary boroughs of Belfast and Londonderry form Northern Ireland which remained part of the United Kingdom after the partition of Ireland in 1921. Three Ulster counties – Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan – form part of the Republic of Ireland. About half of Ulster's population lives in counties Antrim and Down. Across the nine counties, according to the aggregate UK 2001 Census for Northern Ireland, and Irish 2002 Census for counties Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, there is a very slim Catholic plurality over Protestant (49% against 48%), but not an overall majority (people of neither religion, "no religion" or those "not stating" religion making up the balance).

While the traditional counties continue to demarcate areas of local government in the Republic of Ireland, this is no longer the case in Northern Ireland. Since 1974, the traditional counties have been relegated to a ceremonial role. Local government in Northern Ireland is today demarcated by 26 districts.

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