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An increasing number of teenagers in Northern Ireland have friendships across the religious divide, a research study has said.
Only a minority of young people have no acquaintances from other religious or ethnic backgrounds, added the university Young Life and Times Survey (YLT).
Dr Paula Devine, from Queen’s University, said: “The YLT survey found that friendship patterns among 16-year-olds are wider than ever before, encompassing both religious and ethnic diversity.”
They found 12% of young people never socialise with those from a different community and 16% do not associate with other ethnicities.
Dr Devine added: “The comments made by young people in the survey suggest a blurring of the traditional us and them categories. Whether someone is like us or them is not purely based on their religious or ethnic background but on other factors such as personality.”
Key findings in the report, No More Us And Them For 16-18-year-olds?, include that cross-community friendship was more common in 2011 than in 2003. In 2011, 22% of YLT respondents had no friends from the other main religious community, compared with 33% in 2003.