Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland is a section of the United Kingdom located in the north-eastern portion of the island of Ireland. It is variably referred to as a nation, province, or region. Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland enjoy an open border to the south and west. In 2021, its population was 1,903,100, constituting about 27% of the population of Ireland and 3% of the population of the United Kingdom. The Northern Ireland Assembly, which was founded by the Northern Ireland Act of 1998, is responsible for a variety of devolved policy topics, while the UK Government retains authority over other sectors. The Belfast Agreement mandates cooperation between the governments of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in a number of areas.

Northern Ireland was established in May 1921, when the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 partitioned Ireland and established a separate government for the six northeastern counties. As predicted, Northern Ireland had a majority of unionists who want to stay inside the United Kingdom; they were mostly Protestant descendants of British colonists. In the meanwhile, the majority in Southern Ireland (which became the Irish Free State in 1922) and a considerable minority in Northern Ireland were Irish nationalists (usually Catholics) who desired an independent, unified Ireland. Today, the former identify mostly as British and the latter as Irish, but a large minority of people from all backgrounds claim a Northern Irish or Ulster identity.

At the time of division, Northern Ireland's economy was the most industrialised in Ireland, but it quickly started to fall, a trend that was worsened by the political and social turbulence of the Troubles. Since the late 1990s, its economy has risen considerably. Initial growth resulted from the "peace dividend" and greater commerce with the Republic of Ireland, followed by a considerable rise in international tourist, investment, and business. Northern Ireland's unemployment rate peaked at 17.2% in 1986, but has since declined to below 10%, comparable to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Complex cultural ties exist between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, and the rest of the United Kingdom, with Northern Ireland sharing both Irish and British cultures. In most sports, Ireland has a single squad, with the exception of the Northern Ireland national football team. Northern Ireland participates alone in the Commonwealth Games, but its athletes may represent either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games.