About Us

About the NILS

The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) is a wide-ranging database of people and their major life events, stretching back decades. It is proportionally the largest longitudinal study in the UK covering an impressive 28% of the Northern Ireland population and accounting for approximately 50% of Northern Ireland households. The NILS ‘core’ data are drawn from the Health Card Registration data and then linked to data from Census returns (1981, 1991, 2001, 2011& 2021), Vital Events (births, deaths and marriages), Migration and Property data. The result is over 40 years of longitudinal data which is regularly being updated. In addition to this rich resource there is the potential to link further Health and Social Care data via Distinct Linkage Projects.

The NILS microdata is an invaluable resource for a variety of research studies, focussing on a range of topics such as mental health, migration, commuting and working patterns. The data can provide evidence for research into social issues and the evaluation of government policies.

About the NIMS

In addition, for a more detailed investigation into NI mortality patterns, the Northern Ireland Mortality Study (NIMS) contains links for the enumerated population of Northern Ireland from the 1991, 2001 and 2011 Censuses to registered mortality data from the General Register Office (GRO). Within this database, there are static Person and Household data sets for each Census link, as well as a linkage table to a Deaths information table.  

The NIMS database is updated quarterly and currently contains deaths up to September 2020. The NIMS 2011 was due to end in 2021 and it will now be extended to continue to include deaths data post 2021 to allow for ongoing research into the impact of Covid on deaths in NI.

Meet The Team

Dr Ian Shuttleworth

Principal Investigator

Research Interests: Migration and mobility.

Dr Estelle Lowry

Research Fellow

Research Interests: Research Interests: bio-psycho-social modelling of health, health geography. Current work: health effects of social isolation, socio-economic determinants of obesity.

Prof Duncan McVicar


Research Interests: economics of the labour market, social policy, health and health behaviours. Current work: dynamic relationships between disability, employment and benefit claiming; the impacts of zero hours contracts on workers; and the health impacts of pollution.

Dr John Moriarty


Research Interests: Research Interests: development of social roles, particularly within organisations, and the outworkings this has for individuals’ mental health and wellbeing.

Aideen maguire

Dr Aideen Maguire


Research Interests: mental health, administrative data analysis

Research Support Unit NISRA

Provision of guidance on application process, variable information, accessing the safe setting, data pathways and Research Approvals Group.