Reducing economic inactivity in Northern Ireland

Status: Active

Northern Ireland has had the highest economic inactivity in the UK for the past 30 years. The economically inactive is the population who are not in employment or seeking employment. There are many reasons why an individual may be inactive – the most common are being in full-time education, looking after family, retirement, or being long-term sick.

Reducing the economic inactivity rate (excluding students) is a key Northern Ireland Programme for Government outcome. A greater understanding of diverse economic inactivity groups is important to support programme interventions aimed at engagement with the labour market.

Key aims

Using 2001 and 2011 Census data through the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS), the focus of this study is to understand groups within the Northern Ireland working age population who changed their economic activity status between 2001 and 2011. Key aspects of the research will be to identify characteristics associated with economic inactivity, looking in particular at:

  1. Those who have been active and move to inactivity, compared to those who remain economically active.
  2. Those who have moved from being inactive to active employment, compared to those who remain economically inactive.

It will look at indicators of the two most common reasons for inactivity – poor health and caring responsibilities – but also other characteristics such as age, sex, social class, marital status, ethnicity, religion, the household structure, educational qualifications, and employment history.

Project lead

Dr Jos Ijpelaar, Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA), ADR Northern Ireland.

This project is funded by ADR Northern Ireland via its core grant from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) as an ADR UK partner.

Categories: Research using linked data, ADR Northern Ireland, Health & wellbeing, Inequality & social inclusion, World of work

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